Viet Nam start-ups continue to pull in investment

Monday, Mar 09, 2020 08:22

Investment in Vietnamese start-ups is growing sharply with millions of dollars pledged in 2019 and the first two months of 2020, according to Singaporean venture capital firm Cento Ventures.

In a report, it pointed out that Viet Nam saw the highest increase in share in the region, from 4 per cent of investment in Southeast Asia in 2018 to 18 per cent last year after surging from US$284 million to $741 million.

This was attributed to the fact it had more late-stage companies such as e-commerce platform Sendo.

Sendo, owned by Sen Do Technology JSC, completed a $61 million series C funding round.

Besides existing investors, this round also saw the participation of two new investors, Indonesia’s EV Growth and Thailand’s Kasikornbank.

Last year Sendo had mobilised $51 million in the series B round.

Tran Hai Linh, Sendo’s general director, said the company would use the money to expand its services and invest in AI and machine learning technologies. received several million dollars worth of investment from STI Holdings.

It supplies domestic hourly and daily help and post-construction industrial cleaning service to more than 10,000 customers in Ha Noi and HCM City through its network of 3,000 maids.

By applying modern technologies in the recruitment, training and management of workers, has created a new model of technology-based hourly domestic help who have been screened and trained to meet certain standards.

Elsa Speak, an English learning app, successfully raised $7 million in a series A round in February from investors led by Gradient Ventures, a Google fund for AI.

It raised the total investment in Elsa Speak to $12 million.

Elsa Speak was co-founded in 2015 by Van Dinh Hong Vu and Portuguese national Xavier Anguera, an AI and voice recognition expert.

It now has four million users in 101 countries, making it one of the top five AI apps along with Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Google Allo.

Grab, one of Southeast Asia’s leading apps, last month announced the launch of Grab Ventures Ignite in Viet Nam, an accelerator programme for early-stage start-ups.

It will nurture and support promising Vietnamese start-ups in line with the government’s strategy to create at least five billion-dollar tech firms by 2025 and 10 by 2030. — VNS

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