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Vietnam’s first industrial-focused B2B e-commerce marketplace startup raises $670k

EI Industrial, the first industrial-focused B2B marketplace in Vietnam has announced a $670k seed financing round led by early-stage venture capital firm Cocoon Capital with participation from BEENEXT.



The platform enables purchasers to easily source from multiple suppliers and identify the best deals available. The marketplace is free to use for all suppliers, empowering them to digitise and maximise their reach to customers across Vietnam. EI Industrial ensures that there is a proper audit trail for both parties.

The funds will be used to invest in its to build a faster and more user-friendly platform and expand the sales, marketing and technology teams to drive rapid growth, according to a statement from the company.

EI Industrial currently serves over 500 customers in Vietnam, including global companies such as the Esquel Group, Heineken, Toshiba, Olam, Aqua, Oishi, Wahl and Central Group.

The company also works with over 300 sellers to meet the growing procurement demands, including Schneider Electric, Bosch, Honeywell and 3M. The company is onboarding hundreds of new sellers for the 20 categories listed on its marketplace and aims to support one million SKUs by the end of 2021.

Vietnam’s B2B e-commerce market has the highest growth rate in Southeast Asia, reaching $13.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43 percent by 2025. COVID-19 has heavily impacted global supply chains and has accelerated the digital transformation in the way businesses procure goods. Over 98% of companies are SMEs with a growing need to find trustworthy suppliers to meet their demands.

“Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies in the World in recent years, and SMEs are the backbone of the economy. My co-founders and I established EI Industrial to realise our dream of developing Vietnam’s core industries via technology. EI Industrial now supports businesses and sellers in improving both their productivity and profit margins”, said Anthony Ho Phi An, Founder & CEO of EI Industrial.

“The market has been waiting for such a solution with Vietnam’s rapid development and EI Industrial addresses a clear need. We have been inspired by Anthony, Sophie and Trung’s passion, determination and ability to build a platform that is helping to digitise Vietnam’s businesses. The team is exceptionally driven and we are proud to be an investor and partner in their journey”, said Michael Blakey, Managing Partner at Cocoon Capital. Blakey recently joined the EI Industrial board of directors.

Launched in 2020, EI Industrial is a B2B e-commerce marketplace that aims to accelerate digital procurement in Vietnam. Vietnamese businesses suffer from manual and inefficient processes resulting in wasted time and higher costs for both purchasers and suppliers when procuring goods. Additionally, purchasers cannot quickly source for products due to the lack of price visibility and transparency. As a result, one order can take up to two weeks to complete.

Cocoon Capital is a Singapore-based venture capital firm focusing on early-stage, enterprise tech companies across Southeast Asia with assets under management of more than SGD 70m. The fund invests within the medtech, fintech, insurtech, and other deep tech verticals. It has done a total of 23 investments till date.

BEENEXT is a Venture Capital fund managed by serial entrepreneurs that focuses on assisting founders with their operational experience, network, trust, unique perspectives, and capital. The team invests in early-stage tech start-ups that are focused on building the new digital platforms driven by the data network.



Vietnam hit by 265 cyber attacks a week

Vietnam came under 6,641 cyberattacks in the first six months of 2022, an increase of nearly 128% compared with the same period last year.



In 6,641 cyber attacks that caused problems to information systems in Vietnam, there were 1,696 incidents of phishing and 859 incidents of defacement, and 4,086 attacks to install malware, according recent report from the Vietnam National Cyber Security Centre.

On average, in the reported period, information systems in Vietnam suffered 1,107 incidents of cyberattacks each month, an increase of 36.5% compared to the annual average of 2021.

Banks were the main target of phishing campaigns that aimed to collect personal information and payment transaction information of users, according to the Department of Information Security.

From the beginning of 2022, this agency has received about 1,000 reports from people about scams in cyberspace.

In the first months of the year, the department detected and handled 506 scam websites impersonating financial institutions and banks. Support for handling and preventing 1.5 million Vietnamese Internet users from accessing scams and illegal sites.

To ensure for Vietnam’s information systems and cyberspace, in the coming time, the National Cyber Security Center will continue to monitor and actively scan, evaluate, make statistics, and promote cyber propaganda and warning so that users know and avoid the risks of cyber attacks; at the same time, focus on urging agencies to review vulnerabilities and signs of cyber attacks.


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F88 receives the Gold Certificate of Customer Protection

Meeting 7 strict criteria set forth by Smart Campaign (USA), Vietnamese consumer loan provider F88 received a gold certificate of Customer Protection Certificate.



This is the second time, F88 has received this honor. Seven criteria of Smart Campaign that F88 meets are Suitable products; Prevent excessive bad debt; Transparency; Responsible pricing; Respect customers; Privacy and customer data; Complaint handling mechanism.

The above criteria were established by Smart Campaign in 2013 and coordinated with auditing units such as M-CRIL, MFR to assess compliance at microfinance enterprises, thereby awarding Certificate of Insurance protect customers.

In Vietnam, in September 2019, F88 was the first financial institution to be awarded the Customer Protection Certificate, valid until October 2021. Recently, this business has received a notice to extend the certificate until June 2025.

Due to meeting more than 95% of the total criteria, F88 was awarded a gold certificate – the highest level in the certification system. Up to now, this is still the only financial institution in Vietnam to receive this prestigious certificate.

A representative of F88 said that there are 6 over 7 criteria, including suitable products; transparency; responsible pricing; respect customers; Protecting customer privacy and resolving complaints has been present in all of our transactions for many years.

F88 - Vietnam's only microfinance institution to receive a gold certificate for customer protection.
F88 – Vietnam’s only microfinance institution to receive a gold certificate for customer protection.

That is the comparative advantage, the value of the corporate culture that F88 has worked so hard to build. All customers when using the service at F88 are advised by the staff in detail on how to borrow, loan term and loan amount in accordance with each person’s ability to pay.

All customer information is strictly confidential. Debt settlement activities are conducted internally on the principle of understanding, respecting and creating the best conditions for customers to repay their debts.

In the condition that Vietnam’s microfinance market is still in its infancy, many customers are still afraid to access non-bank loans, this is the most effective way. In addition, despite the complicated developments of the COVID-19 epidemic, the total credit risk in the past three years has remained below 1%, helping F88 meet the criteria of preventing excessive bad debt.

From the above business results and operating principles, internal resources, in October 2021, F88 was assessed by Fiin Ratings as BBB – a promising and stable level.

Currently, F88 has developed nearly 700 stores nationwide, providing a variety of convenient financial services from loan product packages to services such as collection and payment agency, insurance distribution and many other convenient services… F88’s main customers are unskilled workers and those who do not have a bank account and cannot access financial services.


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World’s first zero-emission boat visits HCM City




Energy Observer on the Saigon River, HCM City. — Photo from Toyota

HCM CITY — Energy Observer – the world’s first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission vessel that is self-sufficient in energy – continues its journey in Southeast Asia, with the 73rd stopover of its round-the-world Odyssey being in HCM City, Việt Nam.

Arriving in the Vietnamese southern hub on June 22, the crew plans to present the ship’s autonomous zero-emission system to several hundred visitors, decision-makers, students and school children in collaboration with the French Consulate in the city.

Setting sail from its port of registry of Saint Malo in 2017, Energy Observer has already covered over 50,000 nautical miles, made 72 stopovers, 16 of which have been with its travelling pedagogical village, and visited over 40 countries.

Born out of a legendary catamaran whose many accolades include being the fastest sailboat around the world with Sir Peter Blake, Energy Observer is a laboratory for ecological transition designed to push the envelope concerning zero-emission technologies.

From hydrogen to sun, wind, and tidal power, all solutions have been experimented with, tested, and optimised to make clean energies a practical reality accessible to all.

The main missions of the Energy Observer expedition consist of accelerating transition through innovation by demonstrating how well the onboard technologies and energy mix work in extreme environments and how they can be duplicated on a wider scale both on land and at sea.

In February 2021, the Vietnamese government released a draft of the country’s national power development plan for 2021 to 2030. The plan expands current wind and solar capacity and prioritises enhancing grid infrastructure to ensure stable operation with a higher share of renewables.

Currently, more than half of the country’s electricity generation comes from coal, and about 20 per cent from hydroelectric generation. Other renewable sources account for 5 per cent of Việt Nam’s electricity. This share of non-hydro renewables is expected to reach 25 per cent by 2030, and up to 42 per cent by 2045. —


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