VinaCapital raising new Vietnam tech fund

VinaCapital is raising its third fund, this time to invest in Vietnam’s technology ventures.

VinaCapital, a Vietnam-based private equity firm, is raising a fund aimed at technology ventures, and is holding discussions with Silicon Valley venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson over a possible collaboration.

Louis Nguyen, managing director, VinaCapital

Louis Nguyen, a managing director at VinaCapital, who will lead the firm’s technology fund, is set to embark on a road show later this month to raise a targeted $50 million.  VinaCapital Technology Fund I is scheduled for an initial close by end July and  a final close at the end of September. Nguyen said it has garnered two-third of its $50 million target in soft commitments.

VinaCapital is also talking to DFJ about jointly raising up to $100 million for the fund. Even if a tie-up fails to materialise, VinaCapital is ready to go ahead on its own as the firm has already made to its first investment last week.

The fund has committed an investment of under $3 million to a community portal Tim Nhanh (translated as “Fast Search”), similar to Yahoo, in Vietnam, Nguyen said. The investment will give VinaCapital a 25 percent controlling interest in a firm that is already taking $1 million a year. VinaCapital has introduced Yahoo to the local portal, and expects the latter to be acquired ahead of an IPO slated within the next 18 months.

The new fund aims to invest $500,000 to $3 million in each deal over two financing rounds, in expansion, pre-IPO or late stage ventures.

Nguyen joined VinaCapital in 2004 after setting up IDG Ventures operations in Vietnam. He said IDG could be a potential partner for VinaCapital in future technology venture investments.

VinaCapital currently manages two other funds – Vietnam Opportunity Fund, a $171 million vehicle and $205 million VinaLand, a property fund, both listed on AIM. VinaCapital postponed in May a fresh round of fundraising – with a $75 million target – for the Opportunity Fund on depressed stock market values at that time. Don Lam, the firm’s managing partner and co-founder said VinaCapital intends to return in September or October to conduct its sixth round of fundraising for Vietnam Opportunity Fund.