While the size of the investment remains undisclosed, a top Fenox executive told e27 that the VC fund invested alongside OnOnpay’s existing investor Captii Venture.
“We are here to explore diverse opportunities in Vietnam, and we are ready to invest into this country,” Fenox VC’s Southeast Asia Regional Manager, Retno Dewati, said. “When looking at the Vietnamese market and its startup ecosystem, I strongly feel that 2018 is the best year to launch investment activities in the country.”
While it positions itself as sector-agnostic, Dewati said that Fenox will lay great emphasis on fintech industry in the country, where about 70 million unbanked population face serious challenges with regard to getting cashless payment in the day-to-day consumptions. The rise of fintech has also been fuelled by the country’s high internet and mobile penetration rates, and its young and active hyper-connected demographic.
In the year 2017 alone, internet penetration rose more than 52 per cent from last year, resulting in an increase in customer growth and users for many startups. With the population of over 90 million in Vietnam, the startup scene continues to shift to an alternative focus and model to solve various underlying issue consumer faces.
“There is a significant number of citizens who are unbanked with limited access to financial services. With the country having the ‘cash is still king’ problem, 95 per cent of day-to-day transactions are still made using cash. We are glad that startups like OnOnPay seek to solve that issue that help consumers enjoy the convenience and hassle-free of payment through topping their wallets in local trusted merchants,” Dewati added.
Established in 2015, OnOnPay offers both a web-based platform and an app to allow users to top up their prepaid phones and win rewards like extra credit and coupons. According to Dewati, OnOnPay’s business model is ideal for Vietnam’s financial climate since majority of the population tend to go to trusted local merchants in their neighbourhood, as local banks could pose a security risk.
“We are very happy to have Fenox VC onboard,” said Sy Phong Bui, Founder and CEO of OnOnPay. “Fenox VC is not merely an investor to OnOnPay. We see Fenox VC as a strategic partner to help us grow and achieve our vision. As a Silicon Valley-based VC with a strong presence worldwide, Fenox VC can help us achieve global expansion outside the region through its network. They can connect us with the right partners for business development.”
Dewati shares that the investment in OnOnPay is a milestone for Fenox as it will open up more avenues. “We are seeking to partner with other institution to back Vietnamese entrepreneurs grow their business globally and we are ready to invest more in this country.”
Started in 2011, Fenox works with emerging technology companies across the world. Its 60-plus person team operates out of offices across eight different countries, including Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea, and offers a wide range of domain expertise. It invests between US$250,000 and US$10 million in companies across segments.
Fenox currently manages 18 funds across these markets, and has several multi-million dollar funds under management.