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Capital for post-COVID startups

As soon as the COVID-19 epidemic had just subsided, a series of startups received investment capital. Also from here, a new era has opened for startups.

In mid-June, an online seminar, organized by the Startup Vietnam Foundation (SVF) and many partners, brought together hundreds of startups and experts, investment funds, from 6 economies: Taiwan, Hong Kong , Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam attended. The purpose of this seminar is to discuss the influence of COVID-19 on the trend of selecting investment enterprises, advice to promote domestic and foreign capital flows to continue pouring into Vietnamese startups.

After COVID-19, capital still returned to Vietnamese startup

However, not only JobHop, JobsGO (providing online recruitment platform), WindSoft Vietnam (providing software solutions and applications for business administration) and Ecomeasy (specializing in marketing and sales solutions. on e-commerce channels) also received capital from Viet Valley Ventures Fund. In addition, TopCV receives capital from Next100.tech startup fund and Chatbot Vietnam, invested by NextTech Group and Next100.

TopCV receives investment from Next100.tech

Notably, Affirma Capital approved an investment of US $ 34 million in an online recruitment company in Vietnam, Transcendental Human Resources JSC (Sieu Viet). And Sapo, a multi-channel sales and management support platform, has just completed a $ 1 million funding round from Smilegate Investment Fund (Korea) and Teko Ventures (Vietnam). Particularly, JupViec has joined the portfolio of Simple Tech Investment (STI) – the company has poured capital into startups such as 24h.com.vn, AnyCar, 30Shine …

That is not to mention a series of startups like BuyMed (Vietnamese startup operating drug distribution platform Thuocsi.vn) have raised $ 2.5 million in the pre-Series A. round of funding. Or eDoctor was invested $ 1.2 million. from 4 funds CyberAgent Capital, Genesia Ventures, Bon Angels and Nextrans. Medical startup Doctor Anywhere also announced a successful $ 27 million funding.

Waves also quickly became known through the acquisition of $ 1.2 million from venture capital funds (Insignia Ventures Partners, Hustle Fund, Skystar Capital, a number of Asian and Silicon Valley investors. ) in the seed ring.

Pharmacity successfully raised nearly US $ 32 million (approximately VND 730 billion) in Series C. Particularly, Finhay, a fintech startup received investment from Jeffrey Cruttenden, co-founder of Acorns and Thien Viet Securities Company with The money was not disclosed after more than 1 year of raising nearly 1 million USD from Insignia Venture Partners. Insignia Ventures Partners expects Finhay to become “Amazon” in the field of financial technology in Vietnam and in the region.

Looking back to 2019, according to Cento Ventures’s technology investment report, Vietnamese startups had a successful year when they attracted US $ 741 million, equivalent to 18% of the total capital flowing into Southeast Asia. This figure has increased sharply compared to the US $ 287 million in 2018. By 2020, Ms. Mandy Nguyen, SVF’s Director of Startup Ecosystem Development, said that capital inflows into Vietnamese startups will continue to increase. increase. This capital flow not only came from familiar areas such as Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, but also expanded to new areas such as Europe, the Middle East …

Choose to survive

According to forecasts of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the venture capital alone, through the project of Supporting the National Creative and Innovative Ecosystem (Project 844), is expected to attract VND 1,000 billion. into Vietnamese startups. This number is likely to double by 2025. In the aspect of investor portrait, new faces have appeared. Typically, Grab has launched the Grab Ventures Ignite program to empower startups with an investment of up to US $ 1 million.

Although the capital poured into Vietnamese startups is expected to remain positive, but from the perspective of all people in the industry, from 2020, especially after the COVID-19 epidemic, there will be profound changes in the outlook on life, taste selection … in investment and business on both the investor and the startup. For example, it was realized that, at a time of turmoil, the big fish could still be defeated by the smaller one but knew how to be flexible and cooperative

For startups, Ms. Mandy Nguyen observed, companies are gradually transitioning to a capacity building phase. After the community formation stage, this is the second step of the 4-stage development ecosystem of startup ecosystem, according to SVF classification. It is expected that it will take about 5 years (2020-2025) for startups to increase competitiveness, improve governance as well as find ways to bridge the gap between market demand and supply capacity, reaching a New level of development.

To do so, according to Ms. Mandy Nguyen, startups must pay more attention to the shift of global value chains, drastically change the choice of improvised business models and need more intensive support, with the team. really professional advisory and training team, with research reports, providing real-life information, and a set of scientific measurement and evaluation criteria, as appropriate. Units building ecosystems, supporting startups also need to increase the connection of cooperation, shaking hands and sharing with each other, instead of just expanding the network of relationships in width. SVF has capacity building programs for ecosystem components required by this new phase.

From 2020, many startups will face vital choices, especially when consumers’ habits, psychology and spending have been changed by the epidemic. A survey from Proper Insights shows that the labor trend is to stay at home and to satisfy home-based needs, such as working from home, online communication, media exposure and shopping for retail items. practical.

On top of that, Ernst & Young’s survey said, before the great loss of damage from the pandemic, people were more appreciative of things that had previously been overlooked such as eating out together, going to coffee or traveling. In such a context, Mr. Le Anh Tien, CEO of Chatbox Vietnam, once confirmed, startups that want to develop and call capital successfully must have suitable products, solve practical problems of market.

At a time of turmoil, big fish can still be defeated by smaller fish but know how to be flexible and cooperative.

The most notable startups are those operating in industries that require drastic adjustments and changes, to immediately respond to current needs such as logistics, education, healthcare, financial services, online retail … In addition, according to Cento Ventures, multidisciplinary businesses such as Grab, Gojek are also the portfolio that receives the most investment. Grab Ventures Ignite is targeted at startups in the fields of mobile, food, e-payment, financial services, logistics, e-commerce or artificial intelligence (A.I).

In 2019, capital poured into startups in Southeast Asia from investors reached US $ 9.5 billion, down 30% from the previous year, according to DealStreetAsia. Investors became more and more cautious after the collapse of many popular startups. Moreover, the pandemic dealt a blow to the global economy and capital markets in the first quarter. Therefore, it is difficult for startups to raise capital. “Stop waiting and cut spending as quickly as possible,” GV Ravishankar expert at Sequoia Capital India gives advice to startups.

Research by Dr. Karl Täuscher of the Manchester Alliance Business School (UK) shows that most companies that follow the sharing economy model are often less successful. Cases like Airbnb, Uber or other “unicorns” do not really represent every member of the sharing economy. The reason for the early blight is because this model uses resources that don’t really own.

That is the strength but also the weakness when the market has many companies involved. In addition, because they were not directly involved, unable to control the provision of services, the service became inconsistent. Startups of this type will have difficulty in retaining customers even though they were initially welcomed very warmly. Not to mention, companies of the sharing economy often develop a competitive advantage when operating outside the system of official regulations and taxes. Legal risks are unavoidable. “A business model that combines a shared business model with a decentralized model is more sustainable,” said Dr. Karl Täuscher.

3 pillars of startup

According to Ms. Mandy Nguyen, when considering pouring capital, investors’ choices will be based on all three pillars: people, models and technological factors. That person must be able to run a real management, cooperation, coordination. Mr. Tung Tran, CEO of VIC Partners, also agrees when he said that investors often prioritize startups with impressive senior team and market savvy.

In fact, understanding the market, capturing consumer psychology is not enough. From the pandemic, Ms. Mandy Nguyen said that startup owners need to know well, identify macroeconomic developments in the country and the world, monitor both shifts in supply chains and global fluctuations. to predict trends, hedge risks as well as find new opportunities. For the model story, an open, flexible, adaptive model helps startups switch quickly when needed. This is what startups in the food and beverage (F&B) industry are prioritizing, facing the challenge of digital transformation and promoting online sales.

Startups confirm that selling online is not simply an investment in technology or e-commerce. It must be a simultaneous shift of three pillars: people – model – technology. People need to be open-minded, willing to change so that they can adapt the model to suit new situations. People will make decisions and have more and less choices in technology investment, so that when put into operation on the model, it is smooth and effective. After all, when it comes to changes, it must be a simultaneous shift of all three pillars.

When looking at each other, the trend of both sides – startups and investors – is to achieve harmony, mutual support with the existing ecosystem. Mr. Nguyen Hoa Binh, President of NextTech, affirmed that NextTech only invests in companies that ensure the 3 “delicious – complement – cheap” philosophy. “Delicious” means the business model must be clear, healthy, with cash flow and profitable. “Complement” is the value of startups that must be compatible with the ecosystem of NextTech. And “cheap” is a business need to know who you are, where you are to avoid the situation of offering heavenly, unrealistic prices.

This puts the startup in the position to be proactive in financial calculations. This is also the time when bright startups, who have never thought of raising capital, may consider raising capital. However, according to a startup that has had a traumatic experience about calling for foreign capital, it is not always good to invest in it. Because there is no shortage of ambiguous investors. A wrong handshake decision can lead to dangerous consequences. Therefore, according to this position, startups must also have their own standards and refinements to choose appropriate investors, helping the company develop and perfect its platforms.

The trend of startups in 2020 and the following years will also be proactive in reaching out to the world. Speaking as Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi, General Director of VinTech City: “At this time, Vietnamese startups need to integrate into the world and become an important part of global startups.” If a startup is only working hard, not paying attention to international competition, or simply bringing the whole world model into Vietnam, startups will easily fail. The startup founders may have also seen these issues and corrected. Therefore, along with elimination, the quality of Vietnamese startups is increasingly improving, with the success rate of Vietnamese startups in Vietnam Silicon Valley is about 36-40%. This is quite a high rate in Southeast Asia.

Ngọc Thủy
* Source: Investment Bridge

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