[ June 2, 2023 by Nguyen Phan 0 Comments ]




TECx 2023 Conference: All about the speakers, sessions, and convergence of creative arts and technology

Network News: Timo Digital Bank, ThinkZone Ventures, VinaCapital, Sky Mavis

Funding:  EQuest, Poko, Stag, Entobel

Vietnam Tech and Startup Environment:  Foreign Direct Investment, Trade Deals, Key Industry Growth, and More


Vietnam has the lowest poverty rate of all Southeast Asian countries Vietnam has the most trade agreements of all Southeast Asian countries By 2050, 59% of electricity in Vietnam will be generated by renewables


VIP Reception

Before the first official day of TECx 2023, speakers and other VIPs were invited to attend the VIP Reception, where they gathered to celebrate the remarkable synergies between technology, film and music, with the presence of diverse speakers from both the US and Vietnam. Together, they experienced how culture, education, technology and the creative arts come together, balancing tradition versus modernity. This took the form of a fireside chat with director Leon Le, Actress Hai Yen, and interviewer Mai Huong Hoang where they discussed the unique position Vietnam currently sits in to benefit from the creative arts and technology coalescing. In addition, several high-tech and culture-centric companies showcased how they are helping to bring about this convergence, including a metaverse company looking to create a digital twin of the entire world called Seensio, an AR company looking to blend the real world with the digital called Geofi, a human augmentation company looking to revolutionize prosthetics called Vulcan Augmetics, the software outsourcing company IMT Solutions, and Vietnamese traditional organic food company ThienKien.


Day One

The first day of the event opened with a keynote speech by Graham Harlow, Deputy Consul General U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City as he highlighted the commitment of the United States to both the creative and tech industries of Vietnam. Afterwards, there was a tech plenary featuring representatives from McKinsey, Fulbright University, and US-ASEAN, constructed to answer the question: Is Vietnam ready for sustained private equity investments across sectors or are opportunities sector specific? Immediately following this was another plenary about the immense growth of the Vietnamese music industry and the advantages and challenges it faces, featuring Esther Nguyen from POPS Worldwide and Chau Le from Bamboo Artists Agency. After this, there were 4 other tech sessions about the overall market, private equity, health tech and med tech, and climate tech. These sessions featured the likes of Monk’s Hill Ventures, FPT, Tau Investments, Vietnam Investments Group, Mekong Capital, Phoenix Holdings, Google, APAC Med, Verge VC, Quadria Capital, New Energy Nexus Vietnam, Earth Venture Capital, BUYO, and Quest Ventures. There was also one more music session about the history of Vietnamese music featuring Duong Thu, Huy Tuan, and Nguyen Hai Phong along with 3 film sessions. The first which was about tech in the Vietnamese film industry, featured Brad Nguyen, K’Linh Nguyen, and Phil Tran. The second, about using directing techniques to turn Vietnamese films into the country’s golden goose, featured Charlie Nguyen, Vo Thanh Hoa, and Ly Minh Thang. The final was a short film screening by up and coming directors Trinh Quang Minh, Vũ Nguyễn Nam Khuê, Đoàn Tuấn Đức, and Đặng Thảo Nguyên.


Day Two

The second day kicked off with the film plenary about the business of film in Vietnam, with top-level industry experts Lucas Luan Nguyen, Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, Phan Xine, Luong Cong Hieu, and Le Hong Lam all discussing the struggles facing the industry and how to overcome them, as well as answering the question: If you had $10 million to invest for guaranteeing the international explosion of the Vietnamese film industry, how would you allocate it? Following this were 6 tech sessions, 4 more film sessions, and 2 music sessions. The tech sessions included topics such as how Private Equity (PE) firms structure their investments in Vietnam, Vietnam’s active VC landscape, games and esports in Vietnam, web3 adoption, fintech, and biotech, with uniquely qualified speakers from HSC, KMPG, Do Ventures, Ascend Ventures, VinaCapital, ThinkZone, Cerberus Esports, Box MCN, Poko App, Wolffun Game, Kyber Network, Timo Digital Bank, IU-VNU, Van Hanh Hospital, and MGI. The film sessions included topics such as Vietnamese animation and VFX, small and large film success, and screenwriting. These sessions featured speakers from Sky Mavis, Sunwolf Animation, Colory, AIOI, CGV, ProductionQ, and individuals Binh Bong Bot, Nhi Bui, Tran Khanh Hoang, Michael Thai, and Matt Dearborn. The two music sessions were about music production, featuring RYO Band, Nguyen Hai Phong, and Denis Dang



Timo Digital Bank
The inspirational project “Timo x Truong Twins” received the PR Awards 2023 in the category “Best communication project in the finance – banking industry” in the Asia-Pacific region. Timo is one of the first and pioneering digital banks in Vietnam, always pursuing a different strategy to maintain its position. The business aims to develop into an ecosystem that touches all aspects of customers’ daily lives, including the financial and non-financial sectors. Commitment to a dynamic, brave and enthusiastic young Vietnamese generation is the similarity that marks the birth of the inspirational project “Timo x Truong Twins”. The project has achieved many memorable and pioneering achievements in the communication industry in the financial – banking sector. An inspirational bank card template as a certificate of Gen Z’s commitment to living life to the fullest and passion. Timo also pioneered to set foot in 18 provinces from North to South, connecting with nearly 50 universities. Digital bank attracts hundreds of thousands of students nationwide to choose “Timo x Truong Twins”, determined to live to the fullest and join hands to build a brave young Vietnamese generation reaching out to the ocean. “This award marks an important milestone for Timo, affirming the strategy and culture that the brand has always pursued – breaking through, pioneering, doing things no one else has done, walking the roads no one else has taken to become should be different and lead,” said Mr. Eichhorst, CEO of Timo.

ThinkZone Ventures
FPT Smart Cloud and domestic investment fund ThinkZone Ventures signed a strategic cooperation agreement to help Vietnamese startups access technology, professional resources and raise capital. The synergy between FPT Smart Cloud and ThinkZone Ventures will bring technology advantages to startups invested by this Fund. The strong infrastructure platform from FPT will allow Vietnamese businesses to break down barriers to the world, quickly access modern technologies and focus on creating new values. According to a report by the global startup community support organization Start-up Genome, startups with international relationships and business ideas abroad will grow in revenue higher than businesses. domestic vision only. Besides the lack of capital, startups also have difficulty in “groping” step by step to carry out important stages such as research and development (R&D) or market expansion. FPT Smart Cloud and ThinkZone act as a bridge between Vietnamese startups and the international market, creating an environment for startups to experiment with new technologies, forming a company development mindset on a global scale. FPT Smart Cloud will support one to one startups invested by ThinkZone Ventures. Leading experts and advisors from FPT and FPT’s partners around the world will accompany the startup through intensive training programs, periodic workshops, consulting on building their own roadmap as well as support. throughout the implementation

On June 19, 2023, Vina Securities Joint Stock Company (VNSC) signed an agency contract to distribute fund certificates with VinaCapital Fund Management Joint Stock Company (VinaCapital). VinaCapital Fund Management Joint Stock Company was established in 2012 and licensed by the State Securities Commission to establish and manage investment funds, manage investment portfolios… After many years of operation, VinaCapital’s reputation and brand has been affirmed in both domestic and foreign markets. Owning an attractive portfolio, VinaCapital’s investment funds focus on different groups of stocks, with a diverse risk appetite from low to high, suitable for many groups of investors. With VNSC becoming the official distributor of VinaCapital fund certificates on the VNSC by Finhay platform, customers/investors will have more product choices and investment options. In the coming time, the list of fund certificates will continue to be added on the VNSC by Finhay platform. Mr. Brook Taylor – General Director of VinaCapital Fund Management Joint Stock Company, shared: “ This cooperation is in line with the trend taking place in developed markets, when fund management companies combine with other businesses . dynamic financial technology industry to optimize the strengths of both sides. Through our partnership with VNSC by Finhay, we aim to bring investors the best experience along with Vietnam’s leading open-end fund products managed by VinaCapital.”

Sky Mavis
Sky Mavis reached a market capitalization of over 3 billion USD after a successful funding round of 152 million USD in October 2021, also when Axie Infinity reached a record number of nearly two million users. At its peak, up to 3 million users worldwide and is considered the most successful Web 3.0 game of all time. But if you just look at these numbers, few know that the company had a bad start. “In early 2018, most of Axie’s assets at the time were in decline, and it seemed that not only could we not change the world as we had dreamed of, but could even go bankrupt,” said Aleksander Leonard. Larsen – Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sky Mavis shared. The pre-sale of the Axie creatures as well as the Land Plot sale then became a “lifesaver” for the fledgling startup. By early 2019, the company’s financial position gradually improved after a seed round brought in $1.5 million, led by Animoca Brands investment fund. Recently, the company also established a number of its own funds to support more potential projects, as well as build a new office with lots of open space to help employees unleash their creativity. Alek shared. “For employees, we make them feel excited about going to work every day. I want to build a sustainable company that way.” After 5 years, all the founding members still persisted together to build the team that grew from a few dozen people to more than 200 people.


Global equity firm KKR has invested close to $100 million in EQuest, a company that seeks to provide students in Vietnam with access to world-class education. The deal is likely to have paved the way for a partial exit for Singapore-based TAEL Partners, which invested in EQuest in 2018. EQuest operates a diversified portfolio across the educational sector in Vietnam, focusing on four core segments including K-12 bilingual schools, tertiary and vocational institutions, English enrichment courses, and digital learning solutions. More than 110,000 students enroll in its segments each year.

Poko, a Web3 payments startup based in Singapore and Vietnam, was born after social commerce firm Shoppa had to pivot its business model in March 2022. Poko aims to address these issues by enabling seamless transfers of assets from local payment rails to Web3 infrastructure. Its B2B2C model means that most of its main users are Web3 wallets, marketplaces, and decentralized apps and games, according to See. The startup has just raised a US$4.5 million seed round from investors such as Y Combinator, Goodwater Capital, and Global Founders Capital to fuel its growth


Vietnamese financial education startup Stag has raised $600,000 in its seed round from local investment house Viet Capital Ventures, NH Securities Vietnam – an affiliate of South Korea’s Nonghyup Financial Group, and Singapore-based Resolution Ventures. Stag provides a technology platform for users to learn personal financial management, look up information, market data, and analyze for reference purposes easily and conveniently

Singapore-based Entobel, an insect farming company specializing in black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) production for pet food and aquafeed, has secured funding from the International Finance Corp (IFC) to expand its operations in Vietnam. Entobel made the strategic decision to operate in Vietnam, as it is climatically suitable for BSFL, with relatively lower energy costs compared to European markets. The company set up its first plant in Vietnam in 2019 after six years of R&D activities, with a capacity of 1,000 metric tons annually for its H-Meal. Now the company is in the process of completing its second facility in Vietnam’s Vung Tau province, with an expected capacity of producing 10,000 metric tons of H-Meal annually. The plant is expected to be the largest of its kind in Asia, with funding for its construction raised from Entobel’s Series B financing of US$30 million: US$25 million from Mekong Capital and the remaining US$5 million from Dragon Capital


“A number of global semiconductor manufacturers are increasing their presence in Việt Nam, making the Southeast Asian country a rising star in the world semiconductor market. South Korea’s Hanmi Semiconductor, one of the world-class leading manufacturers of semiconductor equipment, announced at the end of May that its branch, based in the northern province of Bắc Ninh, was officially put into operation.”

Japanese giant eyes $200M printed circuit board plant in Vietnam

“Japanese electronics firm Meiko plans to build a factory in northern Hoa Binh Province at a cost of VND4.66 trillion (US$200 million) to produce printed circuit boards. It plans to lease a 9.2-hectare plot of land in this northern province for its fourth plant in Vietnam. Local leaders have voiced support for the project. Meiko first invested in Vietnam in 2006, building a factory in the suburban district of Thach That in Hanoi.”

“Vietnamese B2C e-commerce exports grew 7% last year to $3.5 billion. This figure is expected to increase almost fourfold to $13 billion by 2027, according to Access Partnership, a consulting firm based in the United Kingdom. By 2022, this figure accounted for about 1% of Vietnam’s total exports, according to the report, which relies on data from Vietnam’s customs authorities and reputable organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the World Bank.”

“Two Chinese makers of energy storage systems and batteries are weighing investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Vietnam, industry and government sources said. The combined value of the investments could exceed $1 billion, according to one person with direct knowledge of the discussions.”

“Hyosung, South Korea’s leading power transformer producer, is expanding long-term operations in Vietnam because it sees 100 years of successful sustainable development in the future here, the company’s chairman said. Joo said his corporation wants to promote the development of large high-tech projects while expanding into the field of information technology.”

“By 2028, Vietnam’s economy is anticipated to have reached approximately $2.21 trillion, placing it among the top 20 economies globally. This impressive growth trajectory highlights Vietnam’s increasing significance on the global stage. As the country continues to implement economic reforms, attract foreign investments, and foster innovation, it is solidifying its position as a rising power in Southeast Asia.”



Website: antler.co
Contact: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonssonej/
Pre-seed to Seed
Every sector

Ascend Vietnam Ventures
Website: https://ascendvietnam.com/
Contact: contact@ascendvietnam.com
Every sector
Pre-product market fit

Cocoon Capital
Seed Round, Series A, Series A
AI, Enterprise Application, Fintech, Insurtech, SaaS, Machine Learning

Do Ventures
Website: https://doventures.vc/en
Contact: https://doventures.vc/en/contact
Early stage
Every sector

East Bridge Partners
Website: https://www.eastbridge.asia/
Contact: info@eastbridgelp.com
Mid-cap investment
Every sector

Gaw Capital Partners
Real estate sector

Golden Gate Ventures
Website: goldengate.vc
Contact: hello@goldengate.vc
Early stage, series A, B
Tooling, consumer apps, SaaS, logistics, e-commerce

Website: https://www.it-farm.com/
Contact: https://www.linkedin.com/company/it-farm-ltd/about/
Seed to series A

Jungle Ventures
Website: https://www.jungle.vc/
Contact: contact@jungle.vc
Pre-seed, seed, series A
Technology startups

Monk’s Hill Ventures
Website: monkshill.com
Contact: ir@monkshill.com
Series A
Technology startups

Patamar Capital
Website: https://patamar.com
Contact: https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoff-woolley-b0665/
Technology startups

Quest Ventures
Website: https://www.questventures.com/
Contact: info@questventures.com
Seed to Series A

SoftBank Ventures Asia
Website: softbank.co.kr
Contact: b_plan@softbank.co.kr
Enterprise Software, Mobile

ThinkZone Ventures
Website: thinkzone.vn
Contact: contact@thinkzone.vn
Seed, pre-series A
Fintech, Edtech, Logistics, Ecommerce, Nanotech, Lifestyle, Service

Trihill Capital
Website: https://www.trihillcapital.com/
Early to growth-stage
Solution-oriented companies and transformative founders across sectors and stages.

Vietnam Investments Group
Website: https://ventures.vinacapital.com/
Contact: investment.vc@vinacapital.com

VinaCapital Ventures
Website: https://ventures.vinacapital.com/
Contact: investment.vc@vinacapital.com

Wavemaker Partners
Website: https://wavemaker.vc/
Contact: pitchsea@wavemaker.vc 
Seed Round

Full List Coming Soon To https://www.savvicode.com/

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