500 Startups Partners Create New Vietnam Venture Capital Firm

Ascend Vietnam Ventures, a new venture firm started by two 500 Startups partners, plans to invest in 25 companies in the Southeast Asian country.

The early-stage investments will range from $500,000 to $2 million for tech startups in sectors including finance, education, health care, productivity and future of work over three years, said co-founder Binh Tran. About a third of the startups will receive follow-up investments of $4 million each, he said.

Tran did not disclose details about how much Ascend plans to raise for its first fund.

Along with Eddie Thai, the co-founder of social-media startup Klout Inc. oversees 500 Startups’ $14 million Vietnam fund, which seeks to capitalize on the increasing digitalization of the fast-growing economy. Tran relocated to the country about a year ago from the Bay Area to join Thai, who has been in Vietnam for nine years.

They will continue to manage the 500 Startups Vietnam fund, which has a portfolio of 76 companies, while starting the new venture, Tran said. Ascend Vietnam Ventures’ investments will be larger than the typical $100,000 to $200,000 that 500 Startups funneled into individual companies, he said.

“There may be some overlap in terms of co-investments but not overlap in terms of fighting for deals,” he said.

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