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Investments Into Vietnamese Startup Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Despite the negative effect on the world's economy caused by the pandemic, Vietnam is one of few countries in the world to report a positive economic growth of 2.9 per cent in 2020

By Thoi Nguyen

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At the start of 2021, it was reported that investment into Vietnamese startups has grown gradually and millions of dollars in investment capital have still poured into startups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Startup Blink is the world's most comprehensive startup ecosystem map and research center and it has surveyed 100 countries and territories around the world based on three basic aspects: quality, quantity, and business environment. The company said that the Vietnam startup ecosystem has improved significantly and was ranked 59 globally among all countries, and the Capital of Hanoi was ranked 196 out of the top 200 cities globally.

In recent years, Vietnam's start-up position has grown gradually. Cento Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital firm, has reported Vietnam also was considered one of the top three start-up places in the ASEAN region, and for the first time investment in Vietnam has overcome Singapore and represents 18 per cent of the capital investment into the region.

The statistic showed that investment into Vietnam-based startups was US$741 million in 2019. There are many accelerator programs for Vietnamese startups funded by the big tech companies. Nguyen Thai Hai Van, managing director of Grab Holding in Vietnam said, "They learn quickly and are brave. Vietnamese youngsters have the guts to get involved in the areas where global tech giants such as Google and Facebook have done very well, such as live streaming and artificial intelligence, or follow new trends such as insurtech, medtech, and fintech. They can find the niche markets which suit them well."

I have observed on this page and Vietnam's economy would bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic. Many investors continuously poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the startups which have activities such as travel, payment card machines, and shopping centers.

Significantly, it was reported that the travel activities platform Klook announced that it had completed a new round of fundraising with a total investment of up to $200 million in Series E round, lifting the startup's total capital raised to date to $720 million. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the tourism industry hard, "The company quickly regrouped for a pivot to staycation and software-as-a-service for local activity merchants, including ticketing, distribution, inventory management, and marketing. Bookings subsequently rebounded."

Despite the negative effect on the world's economy caused by the pandemic, Vietnam is one of few countries in the world to report a positive economic growth of 2.9 per cent in 2020. Vietnam is still a good place for finance firms to invest in among South-East Asian countries. Recently, many Vietnamese startups providing solutions for online sales, electronic payments also successfully secured millions of USD from investors.

Uniphore is now considered one of the sustainable startups in the Indian market due to a successful fund of USD$70 million with an annual growth rate of 300 per cent amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with a local Vietnamese newspaper, Ravi Saraogi, co-founder of automatic conversation application Uniphore, shared his tips on how to survive during the pandemic. He suggested that startups need to have a clear understanding of their potential customers, or the markets they are targeting, in addition to having a superior technology. He also insisted that Vietnam is currently one of the most interesting potential markets in Southeast Asia and its growth rate is at the top and there are many large corporations promoting investment for startups here.

Given significant and positive developments for the startups in Vietnam, it will be interesting to see how business environment and investors can pour their investment to startups over the coming months in the country.

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