‘Catch the trend’ of starting a business from the pandemic

Catch the startup trend from the pandemic - Photo 1.

Vy Le and her partners are driving the venture capital fund Do Ventures to the second year, also the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic – Photo: VO THIUY

AI is becoming an inevitable trend. There are major challenges in data collection or precise application of the technology. Do Ventures is willing to invest in startups that can solve those problems.

Le Hoang Uyen Vy

Born less than a year, this is one of the most active investment funds with the most deals in 2020.

“NSThe pandemic is a difficult but favorable time to start an investment fund. Startups are the hardest hit, especially in tourism, accommodation, retail, education, etc.

At the time when they need to pour capital most, foreign investment funds cannot enter. This is the time when domestic investment funds take advantage of them,” Vy revealed the motivation for her to launch an investment fund in the midst of many startups struggling.

The thrust from the pandemic

“When international investors can’t come but can only contact them online, domestic funds can also act as intermediaries and participate in the appraisal process to help startups raise capital,” Vy added. With that advantage, less than a year after launch, Do Ventures announced 4 deals: F99 and Palexy (2020), Manabie and MFast (2021).

Sharing her perspective on the pandemic, Vy said that although it is something no one wants, after a pandemic, many behaviors in society will change and be an opportunity for new industries to develop. Vy thinks it is creating leverage for online industries to grow faster.

“In the past, Vietnamese businesses were not interested in technology for remote working, using only a relative degree. But COVID-19 happened and there was no longer an option, forcing businesses to use tools like Zoom, internal management tools, and internal approvals. This is an opportunity for digital transformation businesses to introduce products, put them to use and get paid,” Vy said.

Over the past year, the Do Ventures fund has invested in a company that is “pulsed by the pandemic.” It’s F99, an online fruit and fresh food selling platform.

In the past, people used to go directly to the market, supermarket, and choose fresh food by themselves, but during the COVID-19 outbreak, fresh food products have been eager to go online.

From Tiki Ngon, Grab Mart to buying supermarkets at Now. “Consumers willing to use, willing to try. If they find it convenient and the quality is good, they will continue,” Vy further cited.

Invest in AI startups

Vy’s investment fund is focusing on startups that have the ability to integrate technology into products, in which AI is considered as one of the core technologies that can be applied in almost any industry. She believes that the ability to apply deep technology will allow startups to reach their full potential.

“Compared to highly developed ecosystems like Silicon Valley, the level of AI application of Vietnamese startups is still very limited, products that are really AI-centric are not many.

However, Vietnam has an advantage in terms of data collection potential and the need to use these values AI can bring: a population of nearly 100 million people with a young structure, a rapidly growing middle class, the number of Internet users reaching nearly 70 million, the rate of mobile users is about 70%. The Vietnamese market has entered a stage where it is big enough to accept the breakthrough technology products that startups can bring,” Vy believes.

At the end of December 2020, Do Ventures and Access Ventures fund announced an investment of 1 million USD in Palexy – an AI application company that provides solutions for retailers. This is the startup of Thong Do – a Vietnamese founder who once resonated in Silicon Valley.

Palexy is Do Ventures’ second announced investment since the fund’s launch in September, with the first fund raising $50 million from its founders and several investment funds from South Korea and Singapore.

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