With an event full of twists and turns, Seedstars Ho Chi Minh explores Vietnam's startup scene.
Many of the key elements are there: High growth rates for internet connectivity and mobile penetration, a strong dev talent, and most essential of all, the entrepreneurial spirit. But in the South East Asian startup space, we've already seen several ecosystems feature these ingredients. So what makes Vietnam unique?
At Seedstars Ho Chi Minh we were shocked at the diversity the startups presented. Social media and e-commerce clones may not be a pioneering frontier, but Vietnam's startups featured a great expertise in big data, tourism, and even growing mushrooms.
Most of these trends are to be expected, however. With the increasing smart phone users, social network usage has shot immensely in Vietnam. At Seedstars Istanbul, this resulted in new attempts at Twitter and Facebook, which often are too ambitious for their own good. Vietnamese startups tackled the issue with more grace, as contestant Chomp created a cross social platform advertising campaign tool. Similarly, confindence in online trade is growing and with it, e-commerce. While payment is still very much based on "cash on delivery" (Vietnam is a largely unbanked country with almost no native credit card users), startups like Diapers.com clone and second place winner Taembe.vn are doing well and prospering.
Similarly promising are the entreprise focused SaaS companies. We saw several startups building big data solutions for local companies, allowing SMEs to analyze and optimize their processes better. Third place winner Cloudjet Solutions was one such a contender, but the team was far from the only ones.
Growing tourism to Vietnam is also bringing in startup opportunities as Triip.Me, our Seedstars Ho Chi Minh Winner. While their idea of community-created-tours is good, their bootstrapping is even better. Without outside funding, the founders have been able to make it a self-sustainable business with lots of global demand. Though the Lean Startup isn't being taught a lot in Vietnam, bootstrapping is an engrained part of the startup scene. With probably only one tech startup acquistition per year and very little investment, most founders sustain themselves by working a deskjob during the week and running the startup on the side. The Vietnamese are incredibly hard workers and we cannot wait to se how there team does at the Final Event! If you can't either, get your ticket while you can!