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500 Startups launches a $10M fund in support of Vietnamese startups

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Today, 500 Startups announced the launch of a $10 million micro-fund that will invest solely in Vietnamese startups.

This is the latest in a series of investment vehicles the Silicon Valley-based accelerator program has created in the past year. The organization plans to fund 100 to 150 companies that have some connection to the Southeast Asia country, with checks ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.

“We believe there are many interesting near-term investment opportunities in B2B and enterprise SaaS, fintech, and ecommerce, but ultimately we are ‘vertical agnostic, returns religious,’” the company notes.

The fund is being run by venture partners Binh Tran, formerly cofounder of Klout, and Eddie Thai, a former director of CJ CGV Vietnam, both of whom joined 500 Startups last year.

Vietnam, home to 90 million people, is drawing interest from venture capitalists targeting companies that seek to capture consumers in the emerging middle class, aided by an economy growing at more than 6 percent annually.

The firm has already backed e-commerce and messaging apps in the country through another fund focused on Southeast Asia including beauty startup Ipsy, social photography app creator Lightbox, social intelligence platform DataRank, language pronunciation training mobile app ELSA, ticketing platform TicketBox, and hyperlocal social networking app Tappy.

Through this micro fund, the firm will continue its effort to educate founders and business people in order to grow a supportive tech ecosystem in the country. Additionally, it will “raise awareness of interesting opportunities to later-stage investors and acquirers,” while also working to “improve the legal ease of launching and investing in technology companies.”

The firm has invested in 1,500 companies across more than 50 countries since 2010.

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