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Ascend Vietnam Ventures surpasses US$50M target, investing in diverse founders building global startups in Vietnam

News Press Releases /29 June 2022

VIETNAM, June 28, 2022 – Ascend Vietnam Ventures announced that it has exceeded its US$50M target for its flagship early-stage venture capital fund, AVV Alpha. Led by Binh Tran and Eddie Thai, the fund is seeking the next wave of globally iconic startups emerging from Vietnam.

Tran and Thai have been investing together in Vietnam since 2015 and have backed home-grown international successes such as Axie Infinity (NFT gaming unicorn; later backed by a16z and Accel[1]), ELSA (AI-driven edtech; later backed by Google’s AI-focused fund[2]), and Trusting Social (financial inclusion fintech; later backed by Sequoia[3]). With AVV Alpha, the team has increased their investments in startups in Vietnam, seeding up to $2M into 25 startups by next year and following on with checks of up to $5M.

“The likes of Axie Infinity, ELSA, and Trusting Social are by no means isolated successes,” said Binh Tran. “Vietnam’s dynamism, accessibility, low cost of living, as well as abundant quality engineering talent attract many founders. On top of that, many tech solutions built here can address similar challenges and customer behaviors in other emerging markets worldwide. Vietnam will continue to be seen as one of the best places to build global or regional market-leading companies.”

“We believe in the ability of all entrepreneurs in Vietnam to do great things, regardless of their backgrounds, and in our ability, opportunity, and obligation to help them do so,” Eddie Thai asserted. AVV’s commitment to back diverse founders led to the development of its SHINE women founder initiatives, launched in partnership with the Australian Government’s Investing in Women initiative[4]. Since its inception in early 2021, SHINE has organized training, mentoring, and community-building programs for 60+ women entrepreneurs and executives, helping them advance their growth, people & leadership, and capital strategies as well as expand their support network. “The Australian Government prioritizes gender equality and recognises the power of investments in women-led enterprises to contribute to inclusive economic growth. We are pleased to support AVV’s work in facilitating resources and opportunities for women founders in Vietnam and we expect to see more investors adopting a gender lens in this fast-growing and dynamic country,” said Sarah Hooper, Consul-General of the Australian Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.

AVV Alpha is backed by a mix of investors from Asia, Europe, and the U.S., including development finance institutions, funds of funds, corporate VCs, and high-net-worth individuals from leading local and regional companies. Dave Richards, Managing Partner at Capria Ventures, said, “Vietnam’s start-up ecosystem has demonstrated rapid growth, unique solutions, and the ability to create meaningful differences at scale. Capria has chosen to invest in AVV because of their extensive knowledge and networks in Vietnam, positive track record as entrepreneurs themselves and as investors in the next generation of top startups in the region. This is Capria’s first partnership in Vietnam and we look forward to contributing to a fast growing vibrant digital economy.”

With the new fund, AVV has been exploring a broad range of tech opportunities including those in financial inclusion, education, and future of work. AVV Alpha has picked 10 startups in the past 9 months, including

  • Kilo (SaaS & wholesale marketplace for over 30,000 MSME retailers across Vietnam)
  • Virtual Internships (remote internship placement & management platform for companies in over 70 countries worldwide)
  • T&C Logistics (ecommerce fulfillment platform starting in Vietnam)
  • Mandu (social commerce platform focused on reseller enablement)

Working with Tran and Thai at AVV is a diverse team with prior experience at companies from global tech giants like Google, Uber, and ByteDance to startups & venture builders like Misfit Wearables, Rocket Internet, and Topica. “Founders choose to partner with us not merely for the checks we write. We are eager to work with them on building their long-term advantages in an increasingly competitive world. Our team deeply understands the entrepreneurial journey and can offer deep strategic perspectives and world-class best practices to help founders go the distance,” Thai noted.

Speaking about AVV’s support, Linh Dang, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Mandu shared, “After investment, it all comes down to who can genuinely advise and support. I could not be more appreciative of the hands-on support we have received from AVV ranging from guidance on strategy and culture to timely encouragement to ensure we achieve our vision.”

“All that we have gained in the last 7 years — an amazing team, a wide range of local and global partners, extensive experience investing and supporting startups, and an active community of exceptional founders — will be carried over into Ascend Vietnam Ventures,” shared Tran.

 

About Ascend Vietnam Ventures

Ascend Vietnam Ventures (AVV) is a seed-stage venture capital firm located in Ho Chi Minh City. Our mission is to empower tech entrepreneurs in Vietnam to positively transform the lives of people everywhere.

Learn more at https://ascendvietnam.com/. For more news and insights on tech & VC in Vietnam from AVV, subscribe to our newsletter, Facebook page, or LinkedIn page.

 

Press contact

Jasmine Nguyen

AVV Communications

+84 853 064 001

communications@ascendvietnam.com

Tran Lim

PR Consultant, Ivy+Partners

(+84) 902918838

tran@ivynpartners.com


[1] Axie Infinity: They closed a $125M Series B led by Andreesen Horowitz, with participation from Accel and other investors. Forbes (2021). Vietnamese Maker Of Blockchain-Based Game Axie Infinity Raises $152 Million In Funding Led By Andreessen Horowitz. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjennings/2021/10/06/vietnamese-maker-of-blockchain-based-game-axie-infinity-raises-152-million-in-funding-led-by-andreessen-horowitz/?sh=266962075b4a

[2] ELSA was the first investment in Asia by Google’s AI-focused fund and raised a $15 million Series B as reported by TechCrunch (2021). English learning app ELSA lands $15million Series B for international growth and its B2B platform. https://techcrunch.com/2021/01/31/english-learning-app-elsa-lands-15-million-series-b-for-international-growth-and-its-b2b-platform/

[3] Trusting Social was backed by Sequoia and later raised $65 million series C in April 2022.  DealStreetAsia (2022). Trusting Social raises $65 million Series C from Masan. https://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/trusting-social-raises-series-c-290464

[4] Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, catalyzes inclusive economic growth through women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia. https://investinginwomen.asia/about/

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