Vietnamese Co-working space Toong, which is striving towards building itself into the country’s first chain-brand in the sector, announced today it has raised a ‘seven digit’ USD funding round from undisclosed investors.
The unnamed backers have backgrounds in the investment, retail and services industries in Vietnam, the company said.
Toong opened its doors in August, and in December it was reported the co-working space had raised a US$300,000 round from angel investors.
The first outlet in the chain is located in the Hoàn Kiếm district in central Hanoi while the second branch is in the expatty Tây Hồ district. Linh Vu, Marketing Manager at Toong told e27 the company is planning on opening a third branch in Ho Chi Minh City this year.
“The new fund will be good base for Toong to continue developing coworking space model deeply and sustainably in Vietnam. We will use part of the fund to reinforce facilities and services at our current outlets while the rest goes towards opening a new outlet in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016,” she said.
Just as Toong is a young company, Co-working in Vietnam is, in general, a new phenomenon. Places like Hub.IT and Hatch! NEST (and Toong) are working to build up the scene and Vu cited overcoming the cultural mindset as a challenge.
“Co-working space is a new model in Vietnam … Therefore, our biggest challenge is to educate the market about this new model, and to attract target customers to experience our space to learn its benefits in comparison to traditional offices,” she said.
In January, Toong Co-founder and CEO Do Son Duong wrote a guest post for e27 discussing if it is still too early for co-working to succeed in Vietnam.
“If we apply this basic marketing mindset and follow the market, we will easily come to the conclusion that the co-working space model does not have potential in Vietnam. But I believe that a strong brand is one that leads the market’s needs. If you want to be a leader, it is critical for you to be able to lead and inspire others,” he wrote.
Toong certainly wants to be a market leader and is already one of the more high-profile co-working spaces in Vietnam — highlighted by the December visit of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who gave talk and expressed interest in the Vietnamese startup scene.
Moving forward, the company says the next steps are to establish a professional network and build a sustainable community across the country.
“I look forward to a busy year for both two existing outlets, and the planning outlet in Ho Chi Minh City,” said Vu.