Touchstone Partners announces first close of inaugural fund for Vietnamese startups

Touchstone Partners has announced the first close of its inaugural $50 million venture capital fund backed by notable investors including Pavilion Capital, Vulcan Capital, and several other institutional investors and family offices.
touchstone partners announces first close of inaugural fund for vietnamese startups
Touchstone founders possess in-depth knowledge about startup and investment

Touchstone is founded by Khanh Tran, former founding partner of VinaCapital Ventures – one of Vietnam’s leading investment management firms – and successful serial entrepreneur Tu Ngo, co-founder and chairwoman of YOLA Education.

Touchstone aims to be a leading early-stage VC investor in Vietnam’s fast-growing technology ecosystem. With a young population of nearly 98 million and with 75 per cent of people of a working age, Vietnam is uniquely poised to capitalise on a demographic and digital dividend in a post-COVID world.

Touchstone aims to be a leading early-stage VC investor in Vietnam’s fast-growing technology ecosystem.

The country is teeming with entrepreneurial energy, fuelled by a large base of local technical, engineering, and corporate resources, as well as a healthy surge of returnees after years of education and work abroad, eager to chart their own destinies and build the future of Vietnam. With more than $2 billion in startup funding in the past five years, Vietnam’s technology ecosystem is now at an important inflection point, with a large, growing, and internet-savvy middle-income population, a conducive environment for innovation and technology adoption, and stable government policy coming together at the right time.

The first steps of the entrepreneurial journey can often be the hardest and Touchstone is well-positioned to be the local go-to partner for founders in Vietnam.

The fund supports founders through local insights and access, coupled with a global network and reach that resonates with the founders’ needs and aspirations. Sectors of interest include fintech, real estate, healthcare, edtech, and technology that enhances efficiency in major Vietnamese value chains like manufacturing and agriculture.

touchstone partners announces first close of inaugural fund for vietnamese startups
Khanh Tran and Tu Ngo, Touchstone founders

Khanh Tran graduated from Nottingham University with a BEng and MSc degree in Electronic Communication and Computer Engineering. He was among the pioneering founders of VinaCapital Ventures and is a strategic advisor to Vingroup after stints at Goldman Sachs and Grab.

Tu Ngo, a Stanford alumna, is a well-respected serial entrepreneur in Vietnam’s startup community. Tu founded and built YOLA into a market leader in hybrid online and offline English training in Vietnam.

She also helped found ELSA, an edtech startup building an award-winning AI app that teaches pronunciation. Khanh and Tu met during their MBA programmes at INSEAD where they shared a common vision of leveraging their investment, operations, and founder experiences to back the next generation of founders in Vietnam.

“With Touchstone, we want to be a force for positive social development and to set high standards for venture investing in Vietnam,” said Khanh Tran, managing partner of Touchstone. “We will play a key role in supporting startups, prioritising long-term co-operation, fairness, transparency, and mutual respect. We’re grateful to be supported by a group of prestigious institutional investors and financial institutions such as Pavilion Capital and Vulcan Capital who believe in the potential of Vietnam and of Touchstone.”

Tu Ngo, general partner, added: “Having been a founder for more than 10 years, I understand how hard yet meaningful it is to turn ideas into reality. There are gaps in Vietnam that when addressed, we can help founders to go faster while focusing on the right things. Khanh and I have a bias for product-driven teams and we’re deeply passionate about supporting our founders to succeed. Touchstone is our way to show the world that scalable innovation and real impact can happen in Vietnam and can be built by our very own.”

The Touchstone team is rounded out by several key executives with vast experience in the local and international markets. Nam Le, principal, has previous experience at McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, Galaxy Studio, YOLA and Bobby Liu, director of EIR, was the founder of Hanoi incubator-led co-working space HubIT and Founders Institute Vietnam.

Every member of the Touchstone team not only possesses an in-depth understanding of the Vietnamese market and technology ecosystem but also brings a great amount of empathy and respect for founders and their teams. Touchstone is excited to unleash the next wave of Vietnamese technology startups and to help founders on their journey to build world-class companies that will serve Vietnam and beyond.

By Anh Duc

Nguồn: Vietnam Investment Review

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