Ascend Vietnam Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm located in Ho Chi Minh City, announced Tuesday that it has exceeded its $50 million target for its flagship early-stage venture capital fund, AVV Alpha.

Led by Binh Tran and Eddie Thai, the fund is seeking the next wave of globally iconic startups emerging from Vietnam, Ascend Vietnam Ventures said in a statement.

Tran and Thai have been investing together in Vietnam since 2015 and have backed home-grown international successes such as Axie Infinity (non fungible token gaming unicorn; later backed by a16z and Accel 1), ELSA (artificial intelligence-driven edtech; later backed by Google’s AI-focused fund 2), and Trusting Social (financial inclusion fintech; later backed by Sequoia 3).

With AVV Alpha, the team has increased their investments in startups in Vietnam, seeding up to $2 million into 25 startups by next year and following on with
checks of up to $5 million.

“The likes of Axie Infinity, ELSA, and Trusting Social are by no means isolated successes. Vietnam’s dynamism, accessibility, low cost of living, as well as abundant quality engineering talent attract many founders. On top of that, many tech solutions built here can address similar challenges and customer behaviors in other emerging markets worldwide. Vietnam will continue to be seen as one of the best places to build global or regional market-leading companies,” said Binh Tran.

Meanwhile, Eddie Thai said he believes in the ability of all entrepreneurs in Vietnam to do great things, regardless of their backgrounds, and in our ability, opportunity, and obligation to help them do so.

AVV’s commitment to back diverse founders led to the development of its SHINE women founder initiatives, launched in partnership with the Australian Government’s Investing in Women initiative 4.

Since its inception in early 2021, SHINE has organized training, mentoring, and community-building programs for 60+ women entrepreneurs and executives, helping them advance their growth, people and leadership, and capital strategies as well as expand their support network.

AVV Alpha is backed by a mix of investors from Asia, Europe, and the United States, including development finance institutions, funds of funds, corporate venture capitals, and high-net-worth individuals from leading local and regional companies.

“Vietnam’s start-up ecosystem has demonstrated rapid growth, unique solutions, and the ability to create meaningful differences at scale. Capria has chosen to invest in AVV because of their extensive knowledge and networks in Vietnam, positive track record as entrepreneurs themselves and as investors in the next generation of top startups in the region. This is Capria’s first partnership in Vietnam and we look forward to contributing to a fast growing vibrant digital economy,” said Dave Richards, Managing Partner at Capria Ventures.

With the new fund, AVV has been exploring a broad range of tech opportunities including those in financial inclusion, education, and future of work. AVV Alpha has picked ten startups in the past 9 months, including Kilo (software as a service and wholesale marketplace for over 30,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises retailers across Vietnam), Virtual Internships (remote internship placement & management platform for companies in over 70 countries worldwide), T&C Logistics (ecommerce fulfillment platform starting in Vietnam) and Mandu (social commerce platform focused on reseller enablement).

“Founders choose to partner with us not merely for the checks we write. We are eager to work with them on building their long-term advantages in an increasingly competitive world. Our team deeply understands the entrepreneurial journey and can offer deep strategic perspectives and world-class best practices to help founders go the distance,” Thai noted.

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