In 2021, Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have expanded by 2.58 percent compared to the previous year, despite the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all fields of the national economy.
According to the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development, in 2021, up to $1.3 billion has poured into Vietnamese startups, which is 4 times higher than that of last year 2020. The capital came from more than 200 funds and most of the funds have been invested in Fintech, E-commerce, Logistics, Insurance, Real Estate, Education, and Healthcare.
Among the current 3,800 startups, there are 3 uprising companies valued at over $1 billion and entering the unicorn club of Asia: VNG, VNPay and MoMo. Other 11 companies are valued at more than $100 million each. It can be seen that the startup ecosystem of Vietnam starts to develop and attract more and more attention from investors all over the world.
Especially, 2021 observed the huge success of Fintech startups, when two out of three Vietnamese unicorns belong to the Fintech sector.
The prospects of the Vietnamese Fintech market is expected to continue to grow at a rapid pace in the near future so it is an open door for all players.
1, Mizuho invested in MoMo, sending value to $2 billion
On December 21, 2021, MoMo announced the completion of the 5th funding round (Series E) led by Mizuho – Global Bank of Japan. The company has received approximately $200 million in investments from not only Mizuho but also Ward Ferry, Goodwater Capital and Kora Management.This round brings the fintech firm’s valuation to over US$2 billion, joining the likes of local tech firms VNPay, VNG, and Sky Mavis (the owner of Axie Infinity) in the unicorn club.
MoMo plans to use the new funding to support rural expansion and accelerate investments in technology, support digital transformations in small and medium enterprises and for mergers and acquisitions.
2, VNLIFE raised $250 million, pushing this firm’s valuation above $1 billion
VNLIFE, which owns digital payments firm VNPay, valued over $1 billion after raising more than US$250 million in a series B funding round co-led by US investors General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group. PayPal Ventures, EDBI and existing investors GIC and SoftBank Vision Fund 1 also participated in the round. With this investment, VNLife has secured its position as Vietnam’s second tech unicorn.
VNLife intends to use the fresh funds to capitalize further on the vast market opportunities on offer as Vietnam grows increasingly digitalized.
3, Sky Mavis joined the unicorn club after successfully raising $150 million
In October, Sky Mavis, the developer of NFT gaming sensation Axie Infinity, successfully raised approximately $150 million in Series B, led by Andreesen Horowitz (A16Z) with participation from Libertus Capital and other investors included Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the Collaborative Fund, and 500 Startups Vietnam. The Information reported that Sky Mavis was valued at nearly $3 billion in this funding round.
The fresh funds will be used to scale Axie Infinity and non-fungible tokens (NFT) gaming to many users, as well as bolster their ranks.
If you’re working in Fintech or interested in this promising field, Japan – Vietnam Open Innovation Conference 2022 is awaiting.
Nguyen, X., 2021. Bloomberg – Mizuho Invests in Vietnam’s MoMo, Sends Value to $2 Billion. [online] Bloomberg.com. Available at: <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-21/mizuho-invests-in-vietnam-s-momo-driving-its-value-to-2-billion> [Accessed 5 January 2022].
MoMo, V., 2021. MoMo công bố hoàn thành vòng gọi vốn Series E từ MIZUHO, WARD FERRY và các nhà đầu tư toàn cầu. [online] Vi MoMo. Available at: <https://momo.vn/tin-tuc/thong-cao-bao-chi/momo-cong-bo-hoan-thanh-vong-goi-von-series-e-tu-2258> [Accessed 5 January 2022].
Le, T., 2021. Tech in Asia – Connecting Asia’s startup ecosystem. [online] Techinasia.com. Available at: <https://www.techinasia.com/vietnams-vnlife-raises-us250-million-series-led-general-atlantic-dragoneer> [Accessed 5 January 2022].
Reuters.com. 2021. VNPAY’s parent firm valued over $1 billion after $250 million investment. [online] Available at: <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vnlife-funding-idUSKBN2F01VN> [Accessed 5 January 2022].
Luu, H., 2021. Vietnamese startup Sky Mavis, creator of Axie Infinity, bags $152 million in Series B. [online] Vietnam Investment Review – VIR. Available at: <https://vir.com.vn/vietnamese-startup-sky-mavis-creator-of-axie-infinity-bags-152-million-in-series-b-88221.html> [Accessed 5 January 2022].
Angchin, K., 2021. Vietnam’s Sky Mavis receives US$7.5M Series A to grow its blockchain game Axie Infinity. [online] CREAM MAGAZINE. Available at: <https://asianewsfocus.com/vietnams-sky-mavis-receives-us7-5m-series-a-to-grow-its-blockchain-game-axie-infinity/> [Accessed 5 January 2022].