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Team Behind 500 Startups Vietnam Launches New Venture Fund

Vietnam's venture capital scene is about to welcome a new player run by veterans of the industry.

Binh Tran and Eddie Thai, who turned 500 Startups Vietnam into a major tech startup fund, recently announced the launch of their new venture capital firm, Ascend Vietnam Ventures.

In a press release sent to Saigoneer, Tran and Thai note how far the country's startup landscape has come in just a few years. For example, in 2017 just US$48 million in venture capital was invested in Vietnam, a figure that hit almost US$1 billion in 2019.

Vietnam-based startups such as ESLA, Axie Infinity and Earable have drawn major global investors including Sequoia, Founders Fund and Mark Cuban along the way.

500 Startups Vietnam, meanwhile, has focused on small investments — a strategy that Tran and Thai are now pivoting away from. (Full disclosure: 500 Startups is an investor in Saigoneer.)

"As the tech ecosystem in Vietnam has evolved, so has our strategy," the release says. "That's why we are launching Ascend Vietnam Ventures (AVV). AVV will seed US$500,000 to US$2 million into 25 startups over the next three years. A third of those companies will receive further investment from us of up to US$4 million each."

The fund co-founders continue: "The Southeast Asia region continues to mature and there exists sufficient capital across all stages for founders. It is at an inflection point where what it took companies to be the regional or global winners of today is insufficient for the winners of tomorrow. With a small portfolio, we'll have the time and resources needed to help each portfolio company build advantages in three critical areas," namely people, growth and capital.

[Photo via Envato]