DFJ, VinaCapital target Vietnam

Draper Fisher Jurvetson and VinaCapital closed on a $25 million early stage technology fund that will invest in tech startups in Vietnam, according to a recent regulatory filing.

The fund is a joint venture between VinaCapital, based in Ho Chi Minh City, and DFJ, based in Menlo Park, Calif. VinaCapital’s website lists the fund size as $50 million, suggesting that fund-raising may not yet be complete.

The fund will invest in wireless communications, broadband applications for consumers, the Internet and privitization of state-owned telecom spinoffs. The fund has already invested in an undisclosed Vietnamese Internet portal.

DFJ Managing Director Jennifer Fonstad serves as the firm’s manager of the fund. VinaCapital’s website lists Jonathan Koon-shum Choi as the fund chairman and Horst Geicke, Don Di Lam and Louis Nguyen as managing directors in Vietnam. Nguyen, who spent a decade at Bay Area venture firms, including Osprey Ventures and Intelligent Capital, joined VinaCapital in 2004 after starting IDG Ventures in Vietnam for Pat McGovern.

The VinaCapital partnership has a 2.5% management fee and a 20% carry and plans to recruit technology experts as limited partners, according to VinaCapital’s website.

Limited partners may ask if VinaCapital will compete with IDG Ventures Vietnam, a VC fund that’s also focused on technology. But Nguyen previously stated that the firm is more likely to syndicate deals with IDG, his former employer, than to compete with it. “The market is too small here and there are no other tech funds,” he said.

“If you missed the chance to invest in China seven to eight years ago, Vietnam would be the right place since it is seven to eight years behind China in economic terms,” Lam says. —Alexander Haislip