Wednesday , December 7 2022

Covid-19 pandemic a catalyst for startup ideas


Despite negative consequences, the pandemic functions as a powerful catalyst, boosting the birth of numerous groundbreaking startup ideas, says Ngo Dinh Dat, MD of ITI Fund.

In 2021, Vietnam’s startup ecosystem witnessed numerous milestones, resulting in a total investment capitalization of $1.3 billion. In particular, many startups in the fields of fintech, e-commerce, food and beverage, games, and blockchain quickly gained attention and initial successes in the market.

Vietnam as a “rising star”

According to a report by Singapore venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures, Vietnam is considered a “rising star” in Southeast Asia’s startup sector and is predicted to be the third largest startup ecosystem by 2022.

Despite the severe impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, many investors continue to view Vietnam’s startup ecosystem as an appealing destination in the region. A survey by two Singapore-based venture capital firms, Cento Ventures and ESP Capital emphasized Vietnam is ASEAN’s third most dynamic economy, behind Singapore and Indonesia.

Accordingly, the managing director of ITI Fund indicated that in 2021, Vietnam welcomed its fourth unicorn – MOMO, as well as other successful capital-raising projects worth tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in the Fintech, Edtech, and Blockchain game. Moreover, the ecosystem also sees the launch of many projects that resolve social and environmental issues.

Deal value and deal count in Vietnamese startups from 2013 to 2021. Source: Nextrans

Deal value and deal count in Vietnamese startups from 2013 to 2021. Source: Nextrans

As a result, the startup “race” is expected to heat up in the coming years, particularly in prospective sectors. Parallel to this trend is the emergence of numerous typical early-stage startup investment funds, including ITI Fund, 500 Startups Vietnam, and Hustle Fund, among others, which all compete for the opportunity to invest in exceptional startups.

“A promise land” for investors

Vietnam currently has approximately 3,800 innovative start-ups. Of these, there are four businesses valued at over $1 billion including VNG, VNLife, MOMO, and Sky Mavis, and 11 businesses valued at over $100 million.

According to Ngo Dinh Dat, Vietnam’s current prominent start-up trend includes business projects that contribute to community development and sustainability such as using clean energy, recycling, reducing energy consumption, and creating jobs for the disadvantaged. With great development potential, Vietnam’s startup ecosystem has also become a “promised land” for investors.

ITI Fund (an abbreviation for Increase – Together – Innovation), as an early-stage startup investment fund, is constantly on the lookout for startup ideas that add value to the community, society, and successfully establish its name in the market.

The fund was founded by 4M Group, contributing to the diversified and sustainable development of the startup ecosystem in Vietnam, aiming to generate special values for the community and society. The fund currently invests in early-stage startups in many emerging sectors including digital technology, high-tech agriculture, education, and healthcare…

Three projects funded by founders of ITI Fund that achieve initial milestones include green power, a company that provides renewable energy for houses and industrial firms; Fasgreat, which manufactures clothing made from recycled poly fabric, and M-Building, an office in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7. The building received the EDGE certification from IFC, a member of World Bank Group, for meeting energy conservation and resource efficiency standards. Further information about the projects can be found at itifund.com.

Activewear, a product made from recycled poly fabric by Fasgreat. Photo by Fasgreat.

Activewear, a product made from recycled poly fabric by Fasgreat. Photo by Fasgreat.

In addition to finance, the fund also accompanies businesses in strategy and management consultation, providing knowledge, experience, and a network of contacts. The fund is expected to invest at least $100,000 and higher per early stage startup project in Vietnam.

The ITI Fund team has more than 50 years of experience and operates a business with more than 500 employees, over 10,000 workers with a global network of 10 representative offices around the world.

ITI Fund Management Board (from L to R): Le Thuc Hoai, managing partner; Ngo Dinh Dat, managing director; Nguyen Huu Thanh, senior finance advisor; Nguyen Thi Tinh Tam, chief legal officer. Photo by ITI Fund

ITI Fund Management Board (from L to R): Le Thuc Hoai, managing partner; Ngo Dinh Dat, managing director; Nguyen Huu Thanh, senior finance advisor; Nguyen Thi Tinh Tam, chief legal officer. Photo by ITI Fund

In addition, ITI Fund also has a team of legal consultants with 20 years of experience working in multinational corporations, as well as a team of financial consultants with more than 15 years of experience.

Along with the motto “Start-up Together”, ITI Fund’s experiences will serve as a catalyst for the development of potential start-ups in Vietnam.

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