VNG is the first Vietnamese startup to attain ‘unicorn’ status – the coveted $1 billion valuation. By this standard, it is arguably the most successful startup story in Vietnam to date.
It was founded in 2004, when the 5 so-called “game addicts with little money and experience” set out to start a pioneer company in the Vietnamese online gaming market which was still in its infancy at the time. In 6 short months they secured a contract with Chinese software giant Kingsoft, “opening an era of online RPG in Vietnam”. Since then it has expanded its product range to include social networks, e-commerce in addition to online entertainment content.
“Opening an era of online RPG in Vietnam”.
Since then it has expanded its product range to include social networks, e-commerce in addition to online entertainment content.
In May 2017, Bloomberg reported that VNG Corp is making plans to list on the NASDAQ stock exchange, the second largest in the world after the New York Stock Exchange. This makes VNG the first Vietnamese company to file for an IPO overseas. Anh-Minh Do, a director at Vertex Ventures Holdings in Singapore, expects this to fuel the increasing interest in the Vietnamese tech sector,
“It will help attract a lot of attention and investment to Vietnam”.
Lozi is best described as a social network, a marketplace and an online community all packaged into one app. It began as a “food-finder” app similar to Yelp or Zomato, allowing users to review and share food experiences. Now, it more closely resembles a marketplace, expanding into other products including clothes, shoes, home decor, pets and even housing.
Lozi was in the first batch of graduates from the Vietnam Silicon Valley (VSV) bootcamp and has gone on to be one of their success stories. Their seed round funding was received from VSV and in 2015, an undisclosed amount was raised from Golden Gate Ventures and DesignOne Japan.
There are over 8 million active users on Lozi and their annual revenue exceeds US$4.4 million. Founder Trung Nguyen is also featured in Asia’s Forbes 30 Under 30 in the consumer technology category.
Leveraging the popularity of online shopping among the Vietnamese population, Truong Manh Quan, founded Beeketing –
A “platform of marketing apps to turn your online store into a money-making machine”.
More specifically, the suite gives online businesses the tools and analytics required to better understand and engage their customers.
Since graduating from Topica Founder Institute’s third batch of startups in 2014, it has since gone on to raise US$125K from 500 Startups and rank as one of the most popular apps on Shopify, capturing 15% of the market. It operates in a huge $60 billion market and has generated $410 million in additional sales to date for e-commerce entrepreneurs around the world.
Beeketing is one of the few Vietnamese startups that have successfully gone global. It has established offices in San Francisco, Singapore in addition to its hometown Hanoi. Over 80% of Beeketing’s 35,000 business users are based in the United States.
Appota is another Topica Founder Institute startup and has been highly successful since its graduation. Their mission is to give people in developing countries “a whole new level of global connectivity” by capitalising on technology. It is the leading mobile platform provider in Vietnam. Its product range spans across game publishing, advertisement and payments.
In 2012, it was awarded the Most Disruptive Award from Founder Institute and “Vietnam’s Most Potential Tech Startup Award” the year after. Like Beeketing, it has taken its operations overseas but still remains in the ASEAN region, operating in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Indonesia and Singapore.
Appota closed its series C funding in early 2017 – an undisclosed amount from Korea Investment Partners and Mirae Asset Venture Investment. Previously, its series A round was funded by VNP Group and series B by Golden Gate Venture and GMO Global Payment Fund.
DealStreetAsia. 2017. Vietnam: Lozi gets 7-digit funding led by Golden Gate Ventures. Available at: https://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/vietnam-food-ordering-app-lozi-gets-7-digit-funding-from-golden-gate-ventures-designone-japan-22145/.
Bloomberg.com. 2017. Goldman-Backed Games Startup Aims for Vietnam’s First IPO Abroad – Bloomberg. Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-30/vietnam-digital-content-startup-vng-plans-1st-tech-ipo-in-u-s
Bloomberg.com. 2017. Goldman-Backed Games Startup Aims for Vietnam’s First IPO Abroad – Bloomberg. Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-30/vietnam-digital-content-startup-vng-plans-1st-tech-ipo-in-u-s.
500 Startups. 2017. Beeketing – 500 Startups. Available at: https://500.co/startup/beeketing/.