THE ASCENT vol. 10: AVV Launching "Founders & Friends" Podcast

Above: Hau Ly, Partner, and Adrian Lartortue, Senior Portfolio Manager, hosting AVV’s brand new Podcast

Hello everyone,

While the international economy is still bracing for a challenging time ahead, the headwinds that faced Asia last year have started to fade: global financial conditions have eased, commodities prices are down, and China’s economy has started to recover. In that context, Vietnam is well positioned to capitalize on this rebound, shown by the optimistic projections by the World Bank, Standard Chartered, and UOB. There are positive signs from the market such as strong growth in the fintech sector, increased foreign investment in the manufacturing sector, and a number of deals being made (see more in the Vietnam Tech in the News). 

Recently, we have launched a new podcast series called "AVV Founders and Friends," where experienced and successful founders are invited to share their entrepreneurial journey. Additionally, our team members have been interviewed by both international and local outlets, providing their insights into Vietnam's growing venture capital scene, including its ongoing challenges and potential opportunities for growth. More details on these initiatives can be found in the Spotlight and AVV in Action sections, respectively.

Until next time,

The Ascent

Vietnam Tech in the News

1. Vietnam’s market sees strong growth in the fintech sector, supported by favorable government initiatives. The number of e-wallet users is predicted to reach 50 million by 2024, from a mere 12.3 million in 2020. This growth is partly driven by the rapid adoption of cashless payments in rural areas, which have historically relied heavily on cash transactions. The government has also been supportive of fintech innovation, creating a favorable environment for startups and established players to thrive.

2. Vietnam’s Masan Group sees Trusting Social as key to digitalizing its retail business. Trusting Social’s credit scoring information will be combined with the data from CrownX, Masan’s consumer retail platform, to create a powerful dataset that can be used “to drive financial inclusion with a focus on providing consumer loans at very reasonable costs”. This signifies a move by major conglomerates to move into a sector that has been mostly covered by digital banks and fintech startups.

3. Foxconn leases a new site in Vietnam as the Apple contractor continues to diversify production away from China. While this is an extension of a larger strategy to lower its manufacturing risks, the move came after a string of protests and pandemic measures took place at its central iPhone production plant in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou. Vietnam continues to be an attractive alternative manufacturing and research destination for big tech corporations, with Samsung recently investing over $220 million into building a global R&D hub in Hanoi.

4. Netflix is making preparations to open a Vietnam office. While Vietnam's cybersecurity law requires all foreign companies earning income from online activities in Vietnam to open a local office, only Bytedance (the owner of Tiktok) has done so. This move would make Netflix the first major US media tech firm with a direct presence in Vietnam, demonstrating that this is an important market and might encourage others to follow suit.

5. While fundraising remains challenging in the current climate, there are a number of notable new investments in local startups. Buymed, a B2B e-commerce platform for pharmaceuticals products, recently raised $33.5 million for its series B funding round led by UOB Ventures. Gimo, an on-demand salary payment startup, also raised $5.1 million for its series A led by TNB Aura. Despite a daunting outlook, the local ecosystem continues to demonstrate its resiliency, and startups with strong fundamentals continue to attract investors.


AVV Founders & Friends

We recently launched a new podcast series called AVV Founders and Friends. The podcast features successful entrepreneurs who share their insights and strategies on how to build and grow a startup. 

Hiring is the theme of the first season since it is a critical challenge that all founders face, whether they are just building a small team or scaling up a company with hundreds of employees. It can be an arduous process, especially when you just start out and are looking for people who have the same values, believe in the same vision, and possess the skill set that can truly help your startup grow. Listeners can expect to learn about the lessons, best practices, and strategies for hiring the right people from our podcast guests. 

The first episode of the season features AVV’s very own Hau Ly and Adrian Lartortue who discussed their own experiences when it comes to hiring and building a team culture. Episode two features Kartick Narayan, Founder and CEO of Kilo, who talked about the important distinction between speed and velocity when it comes to growth, and whether you should be looking for people with similar or complementary mindsets. Kartick noted that it’s important to find people who share the same values as you because it will make building a company culture much easier. You can read more about Kartick’s episode writeup here.

For upcoming episodes, we will be talking to entrepreneurs from different sectors, all with their unique perspectives and lessons on hiring. We hope that the podcast series will provide value to founders and help them navigate the complexities of building a high performing team. 

Subscribe to AVV’s podcast here



AVV in Action

  1. Interview with Mirae Assets Securities Vietnam. Last week, Eddie Thai, AVV’s General Partner, sat down with Steven Brown, Head of Institutional Sales of Mirae Asset Securities Vietnam, to discuss Vietnam’s rapidly expanding venture capital scene. The interview shed light on the recent developments of the ecosystem, its ongoing challenges, as well as potential opportunities for growth. Check out the interview here:

2. Speaking at CanCham Vietnam Crystal Ball. Earlier this month, Binh Tran, AVV’s General Partner, joined the CanCham Vietnam Crystal Ball Business Luncheon as a speaker. Tran offered his insights on different technology trends in Vietnam in 2023, as well as his assessment on various sectors such as FinTech, EduTech, Health Tech, and Sustainable Tech. Binh emphasized that companies that do not continue to innovate and embrace new technologies will risk being replaced, particularly with the rapid advancement of AI technology.

3. AVV on "Seal the Deal". Hau Ly, AVV’s Partner, was featured on the “Seal the Deals” program by VnEconomy. Ly remarked that despite being relatively young, the Vietnamese startups ecosystem has achieved remarkable growth over the years, with the emergence of a number of unicorns, and it has become an attractive destination for both local and international investors. Read more here (interview in Vietnamese)

4. Interview with Bloomberg. Binh Tran offered his take on the allure of the Vietnamese market in the Bloomberg's articleSilicon Valley Talent Is Helping Grow Vietnam's Startup Hub”. Tran noted that many successful founders, some among whom are overseas Vietnamese, are attracted to Vietnam because there are a lot of “young hungry talent” while “language is not a big barrier”. An abundance of inexpensive and skilled software engineers, coupled with the country’s rapid economic expansion, make Vietnam an ideal location for entrepreneurs to launch their next venture.

5. AVV was recently visited by students from Monash University and the University of Newcastle, both located in Australia. During their visit, Le Nguyen and Mimi Duong from AVV held fireside chats with the students, sharing valuable insights on various aspects of working in a venture capital firm. They discussed topics ranging from deal sourcing to conducting due diligence and supporting founders. The students had the opportunity to learn about the daily workings of a venture capital firm and gain a better understanding of the industry as a whole.

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