Vietnamese media company Vietcetera Media has raised an undisclosed seed funding in a round led by Japan's Genesia Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on early stage startups in Japan and Southeast Asia.
The Ho Chi Minh City-based company's first round also saw participation from US-based venture capital firm Hustle Fund and a group of Vietnam- and Hong Kong-based angel investors including Linh Thai, the former CEO of Vingroup Ventures, and Calvin Lam, a co-founder of Infina.
Takahiro Suzuki, General Partner at Genesia Ventures, commented: “Vietcetera is a media-tech startup with great potential. The company gets its edge from targeting Vietnam’s 38 million Millennials and Gen Zers, roughly 39% of the population, who are starting to wield incredible power as consumers.” Vietcetera’s young, talented, visionary team consistently delivers high-quality content that helps result-driven brands tell better stories, he added. “Coupled with wide readership loyalty and impressive CPC (cost per click) and CPA (cost per action) figures, this gives us confidence in Vietcetera’s substantial potential to be a market leader.”
Shiyan Koh, Managing Partner of Hustle Fund, said: “We are excited to support the founders Hao Tran and Guy Truong in this amazing journey. Vietcetera has shown an incredible ability to articulate the interests and concerns of millennial and Gen-Z Vietnamese, and we are excited for the growth ahead as they add new media products to their offerings.”
Speaking of her decision to invest in Vietcetera, Linh Thai said: “I have been a strong believer in the Company’s mission since 2016. Vietnamese youth are highly adaptable, eager to learn, and are quite discerning. And this is where Vietcetera comes in — with the potential to become the voice of the modern generation.”
Calvin Lam and James Voung, co-founders of Infina.vn who joined the seed round, added: "We were investors in Webtretho, a Vietnamese media company acquired by LINE Corp. We feel like we are making a bet on a double here with the rapid rise and exciting potential of Vietcetera in Vietnam's media space."
Since its launch in 2016, Vietcetera Media has established itself as one of Vietnam’s fastest-growing media companies for Millennial and Gen-Z audiences in an industry heavily entrenched by legacy players. Currently, it is one of the country’s few online channels serving as a platform for both Vietnamese and English language content.
Its mission — to bring Vietnam to the world, and the world to Vietnam — is supported by the platform’s international edition that aims to bridge business groups and communities across the globe as Vietnam's macro growth is making international headlines. Acting as a digital mentor to Vietnam’s Millennials and Gen-Z, the Vietnamese edition provides high-quality, pertinent content to empower the new generations through sharing knowledge in the fields of psychology, culture, productivity, creativity and self-development.
With Vietnam's online advertising market expected to reach more than USD 7 billion by 2025 according to Bain Analysis, Vietcetera is uniquely positioned to capture a considerable share of the pie, as well as contributing to growing the overall pie itself.
“In late 2020, Vietcetera reached a milestone of serving content to one million unique monthly active users on our website, a readership base representing a year-on-year growth of 700%. On top of our website, we also serve an audience of more than 20 million people across all social platforms as of January 2021,” commented Hao Tran, the CEO of Vietcetera. “To help us continue on this growth path, the capital will be deployed towards accelerating product development, further expanding market share and growing our content incentive network.”
Following the closing of their seed round and completion of licensing requirements in Vietnam last year, Vietcetera will focus on the planning for a Series A round in 2021.
Funds raised will go towards growing the platform’s data science, engineering and product teams as the company looks to capitalize on its first-mover advantage and to secure its position as an innovator known for a modern approach in a legacy industry.
Vietcetera Media aims to be the content provider of choice for emerging, increasingly savvy middle-class Vietnamese consumers while giving Vietnam’s youth a voice. Its “Vietnam Innovators” podcast seeks to elevate the profiles of Vietnam-based entrepreneurs; ‘Have A Sip’ and ‘Bít Tất’ podcasts (ranked #5 and #28 on Spotify respectively) build on the platform’s mission to be the digital mentor of choice for Vietnam’s youth; while broader collaborations, such as a recent original rap music video with Daniel Kritenbrink, the US ambassador to Vietnam, directly contribute to enhancing Vietnam’s standing on the world stage.
About Vietcetera Media Founders
From left to right: Hao Tran and Guy Truong
Hao Tran, the CEO and co-founder of Vietcetera, is an established commentator who has shared on trends that are emerging in Vietnam and greater Southeast Asia, including venture capital, e-commerce, technology startups, food and beverage, tourism, retail and trade. His insights and those from Vietcetera have been featured on media outlets such as Monocle, CNBC, CNN, VICE, the Washington Post, Forbes, Channel News Asia's The Millennial Investor documentary series, Tech in Asia, the LA Times, National Geographic, Bloomberg News and BBC News.
He also advises a number of SMEs, family offices, and Fortune 500 companies seeking expertise in Vietnam, helping strategize key decisions including long-term growth, delivery models and business expansion. A native of the San Francisco Bay, work has also taken Hao to both coasts of the US, Europe, India and now Ho Chi Minh City.
The founder and President of Vietcetera Media Guy Truong was born in Vietnam and grew up in Belgium. In 1999, as Chief Information Officer for Belgium-based Pyramid Consulting, Truong moved to Vietnam to set up the local branch of the company and successfully established it as one of Vietnam’s leading outsourcing shops, generating more than $30 million in annual turnover at its height. Prior to founding Vietcetera Media in 2016, he worked in the fields of digital marketing, SEO consulting, web design and Vietnam’s start-up field.