Malaysia-based accelerator and early-stage investor 1337 Ventures has announced its entry into the Vietnam market with the launch of Alpha Startups Vietnam 2016.
It is part of a strategic partnership between co-working space Dreamplex and the Mekong Business Initiative.
Through this arrangement, Dreamplex aims to ramp up expansion into an accelerator model via its new division Dream Labs.
The Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) is a cooperative effort of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Australia to support private sector growth in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. With 1337 Ventures’s help, it wants to leverage on startups to spur these economies.
The inaugural Alpha Startups batch will be held in Ho Chi Minh on May 16.
Interested entrepreneurs are required to submit a one-minute video recording of their startup pitch to Alpha Startups Vietnam before May 9.
The Alpha Startups is an accelerator programme that runs twice a year. The top three teams of each batch will receive a micro-investment of US$5,000 and other services — including extend AWS credits and business support, totalling US$25,000.
Currently, 1337 Ventures runs its Alpha Startups programme in three other countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines.
“The Vietnamese startup ecosystem is growing in strength and is ripe for Alpha Startups to come in as the government are introducing new initiatives that builds a sustainable & advanced ecosystem for startups in VIetnam. Vietnam is now ranked 90th in ease of doing business index by World Bank. This puts them in a better position than Indonesia & Malaysia. In addition, the cost of living / cash burn rate for a startup founder is relatively lower than other neighbouring countries where good food , great talent & reasonable rental can be obtained at a fraction of the cost,” stated the press release.
1337 Ventures said that it aims to launch a larger regional fund in the future.
Vietnam’s startup ecosystem has been making more headlines lately.
Just yesterday, the Vietnamese government announced that it is proposing changes to the legislation that would ease VC entry into the market.
Last month, leading startup accelerator and incubator 500 Startups launched a US$10 million micro-fund aimed at delivering up to 150 investments in the country; the same month also saw Vietnamese fintech startup MoMo bag US$28 million Series B funding from Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) and global investment bank Goldman Sachs.