[ May 3, 2024 by Nguyen Phan 0 Comments ]

SAVVI NEWSLETTER (SEPTEMBER 2023)

september_2023

SAVVI HIGHLIGHTS

Founder Spotlight:  Trung Pham, Founder of RYSE

Network News:  Ascend Vietnam Ventures, Jungle Ventures, Quest Ventures, ThinkZone Ventures

Funding:  Elsa, MFast, F88

Vietnam Tech and Startup Environment:  Hi-tech manufacturing, blossoming industries, inward and outward international investment, and more

Vietnam Film and Music Industry News:Vietnamese singer success abroad, film nominations, HCMC’s first international film festival, and more

DID YOU KNOW?

Vietnam has the second largest reserve of rare earth elements on the planet By 2050, Vietnam will be the second largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world Within 20 years, Vietnam will be in the top 10 most politically stable countries

FOUNDER SPOTLIGHT

Trung Pham, Founder of RYSE

Trung Pham is the Founder & CEO of RYSE, a technology startup in the smart home space. Born in Macau, Trung immigrated to Canada, arriving in Toronto at the age of 1. Growing up, Trung had a normal childhood, and excelled in school, eventually earning him a scholarship to York University’s Schulich School of Business, and a Bachelors in Business Administration. Interestingly enough, Trung loved watching movies on law and courtroom drama (i.e. ‘A Few Good Men’ ) and wanted to study Corporate Law; but one class taught him how boring his life would be arguing over a simple comma that could change the understanding of an entire contract. So Trung pivoted and began exploring other options, including Finance; he even completed all 3 Chartered Financial Analayst (CFA) exams within 18 months, but never bothered to pay the fees to become officially a CFA holder.

He graduated during one of the worse economic times, in 2009’s Subprime Mortgage Crisis, which led to many of the Investment Banks putting on a hiring freeze. So again, Trung had to pivot, and it was during this time, that the iPhone began to grow in popularity, and mobile apps were becoming the hottest thing in tech and business. His admiration for technology entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, drove him to dive into founding his first startup, HookUpVIP. With the economy still recovering from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis, Trung spent most of his post-university days partying, and saw a need in the nightlife industry needed – specifically, many concert and nightlife venues were still using pen-and-paper managing reservations and paper ticket sales. Trung wanted to introduce an online platform that allowed venues and promoters to sell tickets online, and using a mobile app to scan tickets – something that while common today, was unheard of during this time. This was Trung’s first taste of technology and entrepreneurship, and working with small businesses – it also taught him how hard it was to scale a business that focused on a niche market like nightlife. Eventually, HookUpVIP merged with a mobile-first competitor, and Trung moved on from the industry.

As an avid reader, one of his favorite books is Onward by Howard Schultz (the CEO of Starbucks), where he learned an important perspective on business: you could own and run one coffee shop on the street corner, or be the CEO of a chain of coffeeshops like Starbucks…while the focus may differ, the amount of time and effort is the same, so why not shoot for the stars and think big? The risk/reward of being the CEO of Starbucks was far more attractive.

This is when Trung accidently stumbled on his next venture, while trying to solve a problem he experienced himself. He moved into a condo in downtown Toronto, and as a techie himself, he wanted all the latest gadgets for his new home. He wanted motorized shades, but was quoted an astronomically expensive figure of $1,500 per window, while regular manual shades were only $500 per window. However, a few months down the road, with the blistering summer sun heating up his condo, Trung went back to the same dealer he purchased his shades and asked for a motor to control the beaded chains of his window shade, that he could DIY install himself. When he learned that this “motorized pulley” didn’t exist, he had his Eureka moment, and RYSE was born! The simple fact that less than 10% of window shades are motorized was due to the high cost and non-existent retrofit solution – a problem, RYSE’s mission was to solve.

Today, when Trung’s mind isn’t on RYSE, he spends his time golfing, boxing, weight training, reading, and playing the guitar.

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When: Sep 30, 2023 02:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Topic: Founder Spotlight: Trung Pham, Under the Shades

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81230252277?pwd=-F1FVYorV_pAzKZr8e_Z4-dtaSlkpQ.ROIvJkY9PFlQIl51

Passcode: 340791

SAVVI NETWORK NEWS

UPDATES

Ascend Vietnam Ventures
Cerebry, a Singapore-based artificial intelligence (AI) edtech startup, has announced that it has raised a $1 million seed round led by Vietnam-based venture capital firm Ascend Vietnam Ventures (AVV). With the funding, Cerebry plans to continue expanding its AI-powered practice platform to offer adaptive learning to millions of K- 12 students in Asia Pacific (APAC). The firm plans to develop their product further by expanding to new domains like science. Cerebry will also broaden its customer base, including new geographies such as Vietnam and Japan. According to the statement, lead investor AVV also bets on Cerebry’s potential to become a globally impactful edtech company. “AVV is thrilled to partner with Cerebry as the company continues to scale its AI-driven edtech platform,” said Eddie Thai, General Partner at AVV. “We believe in their mission to make quality education truly adaptive and accessible to all, and we look forward to seeing Cerebry drive positive change in the education landscape,” he added.

Jungle Ventures

The team behind HealthXCapital, which invested in and helped health tech startups scale up, has joined Singapore-based Jungle Ventures. Seemant Jauhari, who led HealthXCapital since it was founded eight years ago, is now a partner at Jungle, where he will invest in healthcare startups in Southeast Asia and India. At Jungle, Jauhari will take a similar approach as he did at HealthXCapital, combining capital with strategic partners in the healthcare sector to help startups toward validation and commercialization. These partners include providers, distributors and IT system integrators. As an example of how Jungle has worked with healthcare startups, Jauhari said one of its portfolio companies needed to expand from five to 12 cities. Securing supply from providers was crucial to meet demand, so Jungle’s board partners worked with the startup to create a time-bound group-level plan. Then, based on that plan, it used its strategic network to facilitate crucial partnerships across healthcare providers. Then an operational partner helped the startup run a unit economics optimization initiative that improved margins by almost 20% to 25%.

Quest Ventures

Emerging markets’ leading venture capital firm, Quest Ventures, has announced the appointment of April Ong Vaño as its Head of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG). In this role, Ong Vaño will play a pivotal part in advancing the firm’s mission and sustainability initiatives across key markets. According to the firm, Ong Vaño brings a wealth of experience to this role, having served ten years in social innovation and sustainable development across government, nonprofit, and private sector projects. With a decade of experience in social innovation and sustainable development across various sectors, she aims to leverage her expertise in venture financing and local markets to spearhead strategic initiatives. Ong Vaño will be based in Cebu, The Philippines, and her mission includes driving practical outcomes in local communities, particularly in areas like microfinance for agriculture and accessible clean water and energy solutions for a decarbonized planet. Quest Ventures is among the first venture capital firms in Asia to sign the Principles of Responsible Investment, an investor initiative in collaboration with UNEP Finance Initiative and UN Global Compact. The firm’s combination of capital and technology contributes to uplifting communities in emerging economies across Southeast Asia and Central Asia, earning it accolades such as VC of the Year in 2022. James Tan, managing partner, expressed the company’s delight in having Ong Vaño lead their ESG efforts, emphasizing her wealth of experience derived from years of addressing real-life issues impacting social impact entrepreneurs and individuals at the base of the pyramid.

Thinkzone Ventures

Vietnamese early-stage venture capital company ThinkZone Ventures is seeking to raise $50 million for its third fund, which will support startups in their global expansion plans, DealStreetAsia has learned. “We are targeting $50 million for the third fund, with an expectation of four-fifths of the capital contribution to come from international limited partners (LPs) and the rest from our current LPs,” said Do Bui, founding partner and CEO of ThinkZone Ventures. The move comes a year after the company closed its second fund at $60 million, making it the largest homegrown venture capital vehicle backed by local conglomerates. Local LPs, including IPA Investments, Phu Thai Holdings, and Stavian Group, backed the fund, which plans to invest in tech startups in pre-seed to Series A stages. The venture capital company is going to operate both funds in parallel since their targets are different. Fund II will focus on domestic opportunities, while Fund III will target global startups with a Vietnamese focus in terms of team, customers and revenue from the domestic market. The latter will be open to international startups that utilize the Vietnamese workforce or build the first product in Vietnam to save costs or test the waters before expanding globally. “For this, support from our Vietnamese conglomerate LPs is not enough. We need a global approach from day one to build a global company,” he said. “We want to accelerate the development of the Vietnam startup market as a whole, and we recognize that foreign resources will not only bring support in the form of finances but also know-how and network — both of which will be essential to help local startups expand beyond Vietnam.” Despite the challenging times, ThinkZone Ventures expects to achieve the first close by the end of this year or early 2024.

FUNDING

Elsa
The premier company leveraging machine learning and speech recognition technology to teach English, has raised a $23 million Series C funding alongside its launch of ELSA AI Tutor. round was led by UOB Venture Management, joined by UniPresident, and Asia Growth Investment Fund, which is a joint business of Aozora Bank and Development Bank of Japan (DBJ). Previous investors Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund; Monk’s Hill Ventures; Globant Ventures; and Vietnam Investments Group (VIG) also participated. The financing will help fuel the launch and expansion of ELSA AI into international markets like Taiwan and Korea as well as the Middle East, and accelerate partnerships with corporations and schools in countries like Japan where English learners are looking to improve their language skill to access global job opportunities.

MFast
MFast, a Vietnam-based fintech firm, has closed its US$6 million series A funding round led by Wavemaker Partners. MFast is present in all of Vietnam’s 63 cities. It has built a network of more than 160,000 agents across the country. The startup plans to use the fresh funds to expand beyond Vietnam by 2024. MFast reported a 62% increase in earning users during the first half 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year. The firm also counts local and international financial institutions as partners, including UOB, SHBFinance, TPBank, VPBank, and Kasikorn Bank

F88
Pawnshop and lending chain F88 has secured a $50 million loan from Lending Ark Asia Secured Private Debt Funds to fund its expansion.
The Hanoi-based company in November received a loan of the same size from the Hong Kong investment firm, according to a company’s press release.
F88, backed by investment fund Mekong Capital, offers quick loan services within 15 minutes. The company plans to have an initial public offering by 2024 and to list its shares by the end of 2025, said CEO Phung Anh Tuan.

VIETNAM TECH AND
STARTUP ENVIRONMENT

“However, similar to what companies like Dell and Apple have done, shifting some production to countries like Vietnam will help them reduce their dependence on China for assembly in the future. They intend to shift another portion of production to Vietnam starting in 2024.”

“Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has urged U.S. chip giant Nvidia to invest in Vietnam and make the country its manufacturing hub in Southeast Asia.
Chinh made the request on Monday during a working trip to Silicon Valley as he met with Nvidia chairman Jensen Huang. The PM and Huang discussed global AI development trends and the potential for cooperation between the company and Vietnam, where the government is prioritizing the development of semiconductor manufacturing.”

“Korean and Chinese magnet firms, including an Apple supplier, are set to open factories in Vietnam, according to documents and people familiar with the plans, amid a push to diversify supply chains away from China and defend against Sino-U.S. tension. Neighbouring Vietnam has untapped rare earth deposits second only to China’s, as well as a fledgling processing industry, giving the country the potential to be a much bigger competitor, industry insiders said.”

“Social network giant Meta wants to expand its investment in Vietnam, including the manufacturing of metaverse equipment. Kaplan also said that Meta has had some partnerships in Vietnam, including one with the National Innovation Center to boost digital transformation and another with the Vietnam Government Portal to make its Facebook page the most successful government page in the region with 4.2 million followers. Meta will continue to support small and medium businesses in Vietnam to reach new customers.”

“The Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) of the Republic of Korea (RoK) will launch K-Tech College, a programme that offers training programs in software and provides job placement opportunities with Korean startups to talented students from developing nations, including Vietnam.

“Tech giant FPT has plans to invest US$100 million into the U.S. market by the end of this year, suggesting that U.S. government help nurture a semiconductor ecosystem in Vietnam. The corporation expects to create more than 3,000 jobs by 2028 and generated revenues of $1 billion in the U.S. market by 2030.

VIETNAM FILM AND
MUSIC INDUSTRY NEWS

“Singer Hanbin received acclaim for his performance at his K-pop boy group TEMPEST’s comeback showcase in Seoul, presenting the group’s new single. The Vietnamese artist and his six bandmates held their showcase Wednesday to present their new single “Into the Storm.” Hanbin said during the Q&A section that he wanted to hold more tours with his bandmates in the future, and wanted his home country Vietnam to be one of the stops of the tours.”

“The first-ever Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival 2024 (HIFF 2024) will be held on April 6-13 next year with a wide range of activities, according to the municipal Department of Culture and Sports. The event will draw the participation of some 200 filmmakers, actors and actresses from around the world. Along with screening nominations, there will be an exhibition on the film industry, workshops, and refresher courses, among others.”

“Variety show “Hanh Trinh Ky Thu” (Let’s Feast Vietnam) has been chosen to compete for the Best Reality & Variety award at the Asia Content Awards and Global OTT Awards of Busan International Film Festival. Produced by BHD Vietnam Media Corp in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Meta, “Hanh Trinh Ky Thu” features the journey of exploring Vietnam of six teams of content creators from Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia.”

“The commercialization of Vietnamese music over the past few decades has positioned it today as one of the country’s leading industries. However, despite its substantial growth, Vietnamese music remains largely unknown to international audiences, with many unaware of Vietnam’s vibrant music industry.”

“Vietnam is on track to become a dynamic content market in Southeast Asia, with a booming production sector, a boost in box office and international awards. The first six months of 2023 saw a sharp increase in the local box office, clocking up 23 million admissions, comparable to the all-time high of 48 million recorded in 2019, preCovid. The estimated total revenue for the first seven months was $92.6m (vnd2.2tn), up 58.2% year-on-year.*

“In Vietnam, film festivals not only create opportunities for filmmakers to promote and bring their works to the audience, but are also expected to be effective levers of the film industry and supporting services worth millions of dollars. Therefore, in recent years, along with efforts to make a mark on Vietnamese cinema at international film festivals, professional associations and many provinces and cities have embarked on organizing international film festivals associated with famous destinations in the country.”

STRATEGIC ALLIANCE VIETNAMESE VENTURES INTERNATIONAL

VENTURE CAPITAL ORGANIZATIONS IN VIETNAM

Antler
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
Website:cocooncap.com
Contact:will@cocooncap.com
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
Website:http://gawcapital.com
Contact:info@gawcapital.com
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

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

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
Multi

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/
Contact: INFO@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
Multi

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

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

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

FILM AND MUSIC ORGANIZATIONS IN VIETNAM

Southern Star Creatives Foundation (SSCF)
Website: https://www.southernstarcreatives.org/
Contact: christianallyn2000@gmail.com 
Type: Nonprofit, film funding, documentary funding, music funding, etc

POPS
Website: https://popsww.com/en/
Contact: https://popsww.com/en/about/#contact-us
Type: Streaming, network, studio.

Bamboo Artists Agency
Website: https://bambooartists.agency/
Contact: +84 79 789 1168
Type: Talent agency.

Xine House
Website: https://www.facebook.com/xinehouse
Contact: we@xinehouse.com
Type: Community, industry education.

Sunwolf Animation Studio
Website: https://www.sunwolfstudio.com/
Contact: leodinh@sunwolfstudio.com
Type: Animation studio

Autumn Meeting
Website: https://www.facebook.com/autumnmeeting
Type: Cinema event.

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

AboutNguyen Phan