Outstanding events of Vietnam's startup community in 2016
Vietnamese startups became better known worldwide in 2016 and are expected to shine even more brightly in 2017.
Startup community in tumult because of Criminal Code
One of the most controversial issues among technology startups in 2016 was Article 292 of the 2015 Criminal Code on illegal provision of services on computer and telecommunication networks.
The article said individuals and institutions providing services without licenses will be fined up to hundreds of millions of dong or sentenced to non-custodial reform for two years.
This raised concern among startups because most technology startups deploy their business, provide services and collect money via computer and telecommunication networks.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the August regular meeting proposed to remove the Article 292.
Startups receive huge foreign investment
As Vietnamese startups have become better known, they can catch the eyes of foreign investors. The deal in which Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) and Golman Sachs poured $28 million into MoMo e-wallet was considered the most successful capital call so far.
Other startups also received huge investment capital in 2016, including GotIt ($9 million), Vntrip.vn ($3 million) and Toong ($1 million).
Silicon’s 500 Startups arrive
In early 2016, 500 Startups, a large US-based venture fund, announced it would set up a small fund with $10 million to pour capital into 100-150 Vietnamese startup projects
The fund in Vietnam will be managed by Binh Tran, the co-founder of Klout, and Eddie Thai. Both of them were born in Vietnam but have been living for a long time in the US.
Vietnamese startups win international prizes
These included software which allowed practice for speaking English designed by two Vietnamese – Van Dinh Hong, 33, and Ngo Thuy Ngoc Tu, 29 – and a Spanish PhD Xavir Anguera. Winning over 1,200 rivals, the education startup won first prize at a competition held in Austin, Texas in the US.
Meanwhile, Monkey Junior, an app for teaching languages to children, won first prize at GIST Tech-I 2016 in the US. In late 2011, Monkey Junior won the gold prize at ASEAN ICT Awards.
VND100 billion fund for agriculture startups
While most existing funds focus on injecting money into technology firms and F&B chains, SSIAM, a fund belonging to Saigon Securities Incorporated, has set up a VND100 billion fund to invest in agriculture projects.
Hellomum, a safe food distribution chain, has become the first company receiving investments from SSIAM’s fund.
Thorny path for startups
Lingo.vn, a e-commerce website was dissolved in a strange way. Nearly 300 workers at Lingo said they were informed just two hours in advance and they had to leave the office the same day, while they did not receive any type of allowance.
Thanh Mai, VNN