It said the goal is to make 100 to 150 investments into Vietnamese startup
s that address local market needs as well as those tackling overseas markets.
In addition to financing, startups will also get access to the company’s international network of mentors and partners to help scale up their business.
According to Enterprise Innovation site, the fund will be led by Venture Partners Binh Tran and Eddie Thai who joined 500 Startups last year to lead the firm’s Vietnam efforts.
Tran is a San Francisco-based technologist whose most recent win was Klout, which pioneered influencer marketing and was acquired in 2014 at a $200 million valuation. Thai is a Vietnam-based businessman with years experience in strategy and finance for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 corporations across tech, media, telecommunications, etc.
“We believe there are many interesting near-term investment opportunities in B-to-B and Enterprise SaaS, Fintech, and E-Commerce, but ultimately we are “vertical agnostic, returns religious,” said Thai in a blog post.
Prior to the announcement, 500 Startups has already invested in Vietnamese companies, including beauty startup Ipsy, social photography app Lightbox, and social intelligence platform DataRank.
Thai said 500 Startups also hopes to build on the pioneering efforts of IDG Ventures Vietnam, DFJ VinaCapital and others to develop Vietnam’s startup ecosystem.
“Vietnam is a vibrant and growing country, with many talented entrepreneurs and engineers. 500 Startups plans to work together with Vietnamese investors and the local tech community to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Dave McLure, founder of 500 Startups.
Vietnam is seeing increasing interest from VC firms, who are targeting a population of around 90 million people living in an economy that’s growing at around 6% annually in recent years.
Around 43% of the population are online, and there are around 147 mobile phones for every 100 people. In 2014, Vietnam also became the fastest growing market for Apple.