The Vietnamese fintech startup industry has grown tremendously in the past decade. According to Vietnam News, the number of fintech startups in the country grew from about 40 in 2016 to 154 in 2021. The government believes that supporting fintech will drive a cashless economy and allow unbanked individuals and businesses to access banking services.
In light of the growth in the country’s fintech ecosystem, venture capitalists and angel investors are moving to back the top-performing startups.
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We take a closer look at the top 5 fintech startups to look out for in Vietnam.
VayMuon is a peer-to-peer platform that allows people to obtain loans from others, eliminating the rigours involved in borrowing from traditional banks. It is the first of its kind in Vietnam. The company aims to popularise digital and fast loan application processing in the country. After launching in 2017, VayMuon connected over 2 million borrowers to more than 400,000 private lenders, achieving a 20% growth rate per month.
In 2019, the startup secured an undisclosed venture capital investment from eCommerce company Nexttech Group in exchange for 20% equity. VayMuon used the funds to enhance its technology by investing in artificial intelligence, expanding its operations to Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar, and leveraging Nexttech Group’s multisector ecosystem.
VayMuon has also gone into partnership with Nganluong, a Vietnamese payment service provider, to expand into other fintech niches, including salary loan management, eCommerce, and supply chain financing.
Momo is a State Bank of Vietnam-licensed eWallet platform that allows users to carry out digital transactions. The company was created from a mixture of WeChat Pay and Alipay’s models and it caters to the young demographic as well as people living in rural communities. In January 2021, Momo raised over $100 million USD from six investors in Series-D funding.
The funding round was led by Warburg Pincus and Goodwater Capital, followed by Kora Management, Tybourne Capital Management, Affirma Capital Singapore PTE, and Macquarie Capital. MoMo plans to use the funds to build an all-in-one smartphone app that offers multiple services and go public by 2025. Since its inception, MoMo has processed tens of millions of transactions for users and has recorded an incredible increase in its customer base.
Finhay is a fintech company in Vietnam that helps millennials build steady wealth. The platform allows users to micro-invest as little as $2 USD in mutual funds. In 2020, Finhay secured an undisclosed seven-figure venture capital investment with Jeffrey Cruttenden, the co-founder of US-based savings application, Acorns, and Vietnamese Thien Viet Securities.
The company’s CEO and founder, Nghiem Xuan Huy, stated that Finhay would channel the funds into initiatives that will accelerate growth. In a bid to gain a competitive advantage over other fintech startups in Vietnam, Finhay adopted a financial literacy initiative to educate individuals, especially youths, on the need for fintech services.
Since most Vietnamese majorly pay attention to traditional investments such as real estate and stocks, Finhay is moving to satisfy the increasing demand for better financial services that provide more investment opportunities for the younger generation.
The M-Pay-owned eWallet aims to provide consumers with a secure and mobile-friendly digital payment platform for hassle-free transactions. Users can leverage the eMonkey platform to check their account balance, transaction history and make payments. In December 2019, Ant Financial quietly acquired some stakes in the startup.
The investment was Ant Financial’s strategic way of gaining entry into the fintech industry in Vietnam. Both parties never made the partnership public because of the strained relationship between China and Vietnam at the time, which could have possibly caused a pushback.
eMonkey obtained its license to offer intermediary payments services from the State Bank of Vietnam in 2016. Lazada Vietnam also incorporated eMonkey into its platform. Currently, eMonkey is also in partnership with most of the largest telecommunications providers and banks in Vietnam.
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ZION is the brains behind Zalo Pay, a platform that allows users to link their electronic cards to carry out peer-to-peer transactions using QR codes and NFC. Users can also leverage the platform to pay for products and services, utility bills, and mobile top-ups. The company also owns 123Pay and is an affiliate of VNG Corporation, a Vietnam-based company that specialises in online entertainment, digital content, eCommerce and social networks.
In December 2020, ZION developed an AI product, known as Kiki, for smart speakers after modelling the technologies of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. ZION’s innovation has helped VNG Corporation to attract international investors, including Temasek, Goldman Sachs, and GIC, giving the company a shot at a brighter future.
The fintech industry here is growing rapidly with foreign investors willing to support many fintech startups in Vietnam. The top 5 fintech startups mentioned above have a great potential to restructure financial services in the country, and many citizens are buying into their initiatives. We can expect to see them taking over the fintech space in the country and the entire ASEAN region if they manage to maintain the current momentum.