Success on the global stage is now within reach of more startups in Vietnam, following the acquisition of startup ecosystem builder Hatch Ventures Vietnam (HATCH!) by Singapore-based Draper Startup House.
“I had been wanting HATCH! to have a role in supporting Vietnam startups going global, and also helping inbound teams set up in Vietnam to leverage the country’s independence-seeking tech talent emergent from a long history of outsourcing. I was excited about the Draper Startup House mission, vision, and values. All were aligned with ours. Draper Startup House had already identified Danang as a place to operate and needed people on the ground there. So we really were well matched in what we each wanted,” HATCH! Co-Founder and now Draper Startup House Vietnam (Danang) CEO Aaron Everhart told Digital Life Asia.
How HATCH! was hatched
HATCH!, which Everhart founded in 2012, organized HATCH! FAIR from 2012 to 2017, and co-organized the inaugural TechFest, which is now Vietnam’s largest annual gathering for innovation and entrepreneurship.
“HATCH! was the result of my partner, Pham Quoc Dat, and I having started a venture building company and its first venture not succeeding. We realized how much we didn’t know about commercializing ideas and how few resources there were locally. An intern of ours brought in a news article indicating that nearly as many companies open each year in Vietnam as close, suggesting lost family savings, hired and then fired staff, causing a burden on society. So we looked into whether Vietnam had any good entrepreneurship supports. We only found one, and we went to check it out, but found it was only just starting as well. Seeing and feeling an opportunity to serve entrepreneurs better in Vietnam, we created HATCH!,” Everhart said.
Draper Startup House Singapore wholly acquired HATCH! and subsequently will co-own Draper Startup House Vietnam. The cash and equity deal will result in a new Vietnam entity. Investors include Pham Vinh, a UK-based property developer, and Draper Startup House Singapore.
“The acquisition of HATCH! supports the Draper Startup House vision to create one million companies by 2030. The systems, network, and brand recognition of HATCH! in Vietnam enables Draper to gain an influential presence in Vietnam, starting in Danang City,” Draper Startup House International (Singapore) CEO Vikram Bharati said in a press statement.
Growth of startup community
According to Everhart, the startup ecosystem in Vietnam is maturing and fast growing.
“The quality of the teams is much better now than when we started eight years ago. Many youth who’d gone overseas to study are coming back in great numbers now, many with business or technical focus. These people having ideas, ambition, and skills are reconnecting with their colleagues who also have enjoyed an increasing quality of education.
“Most universities are mandated now to offer entrepreneurship education. So the returning students and local students are teaming up and creating companies. Social pressure to work in a traditional job is waning. Parents are accepting of their children being entrepreneurs. Vietnamese startups then enjoy lower operating costs, tax incentives for software companies, a great tech skill talent base to recruit from, and all eyes are on Vietnam as an attractive trading partner country with unique social, economic, and geographic advantages,” Everhart said.