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500 Startups surpasses Vietnam fund goal by raising US$14m

[HANOI] 500 Startups, an early-stage venture capital investor, exceeded the target for its Vietnam fund by raising US$14 million to back startups in the country.

Backers include multimedia retailer GS Home Shopping Inc., consumer electronics manufacturer Humax Co. and NCORE Ventures, 500 Startups said in a statement Tuesday. The amount raised was $4 million more than the initial target when it announced the fund in 2016.

With a population approaching 100 million and more mobile phones than residents, Vietnam is emerging as an attractive market for technology investors. 500 Startups is focusing on sectors including education, financial services and transport and has put money into 36 companies in the country since April 2017.

"People in Vietnam understand the pains of poverty more intimately than their counterparts in San Francisco, New York, or London, and so are probably better positioned to find solutions for them," 500 Startups partner Eddie Thai said in the statement.

Portfolio companies include electric-scooter sharing company Beam, later backed by Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt, English learning app ELSA and password-sharing app WifiChua.

Vietnam's government, which forecasts economic growth of 6.6 per cent to 6.8 per cent next year, plans to fund 600 startups by 2025.


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