EdTech in Vietnam: Understanding Foreign Investment Trends in 2023
EdTech has become very popular in Vietnam and subsequently, the sector has become very lucrative. In this article, we look at key foreign-invested EdTech projects in Vietnam and why foreign firms have invested where they have.
Several EdTech products are gaining popularity in Vietnam, including online learning platforms, learning apps, online learning websites, and YouTube channels. These products cater to the growing demand for flexible and technology-driven learning solutions in Vietnam’s education landscape.
With this in mind, Ken Research’s Vietnam E-Learning Market Outlook to 2023 report predicts a significant increase in revenue for the technology services industry and content services industry. Specifically, the technology services industry is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.4 percent from 2019 to 2023, while the content services industry is expected to experience a CAGR of 18.3 percent over the same period.
This presents sizable opportunities for foreign firms working in the EdTech space. This is supported by several major investments in EdTech in Vietnam in the first half of 2023.
Below we note three of those deals and what they mean for the local firms and their foreign investors.
Teky Alpha JSC
Teky, founded in 2016, focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for children aged 4-18. It aims to develop skills in technological thinking, computer science, and 21st-century competencies, including critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration (4Cs).
Teky offers subjects like Programming and Application Development, Robotics Engineering, 3D Technology, and multimedia. These programs prepare Vietnamese children for success in the digital economy and nurture their potential as future technology entrepreneurs.
In May 2023, Teky Alpha JSC reported a successful funding round of US$5 million. Singapore’s Sweef Capital Investment Fund participated alongside Strategic Year Holdings, a private equity firm with offices throughout Asia. This investment is expected to facilitate the expansion of Teky’s educational services within the public education system and extracurricular programs catering to children aged 5 to 18.
What makes Teky an attractive investment
Vietnam has seen significant improvements in STEM education implementation and outcomes, with 88,529 STEM lessons implemented in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. This is part of a wider understanding of the importance of STEM subjects.
Professional and interest groups are developing STEM teaching topics, encouraging interdisciplinary integrated teaching, and integrating STEM education into their curriculum planning.
Furthermore, high schools have established science research clubs and organized events like STEM Day and science and technology competitions. Over the past two years, 12,113 students have participated in district and provincial competitions, with thousands competing at the national level.
TEKY, a significant player in promoting STEM education, is dedicated to providing a comprehensive STEM curriculum that fosters problem-solving skills and critical thinking. These skills are crucial for career progression and innovation outcomes.
Furthermore, Sweef Capital’s investment in TEKY is attributed to its robust business model, which includes 20 academies in key cities and partnerships with over 45 schools, delivering high-quality educational services to over 50,000 young people. Teky plans to expand rapidly by opening 40 new educational centers and hundreds of STEAM labs at schools by 2024, aiming to become the leading EdTech business in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Sweef Capital’s investment in TEKY aims to foster foundational skills in children, focusing on problem-solving, critical thinking, and creative thinking. These skills are crucial for career advancement and innovation outcomes, Jennifer Buckley, Sweef founder and managing director, told DealStreetAsia.
Sweef Capital shares TEKY’s vision of promoting STEAM opportunities for girls to encourage more girls to pursue these disciplines and build professional careers in STEAMhmm, Buckley went on. The investment will support TEKY in expanding its network of academies and developing its digital platform, enabling a broader reach and enhancing students’ critical thinking and employment skills.
CEO Sune Schackenfeldt of Pædagogernes Pension, a key partner to Sweef Capital, emphasized the strategic alignment of the investment with their responsible investment ethos.
“Many of our members are educators and this first investment in TEKY provides strong alignment with the issues affecting them,” she told VN Economy.
Mclass was established in 2019 by co-founders Nguyen Van Khai and Nguyen Minh Thang. It is an online learning platform in Vietnam that has gained widespread popularity and trust among students and parents. The platform specializes in providing live teaching sessions in various subjects, including mathematics, science, literature, and exam preparation for assessments, such as the IELTS.
Indonesia’s, Ruangguru, is an educational startup established in 2014 by Belva Devara and Iman Usman. This company has garnered significant recognition as one of the top 10 innovative educational institutions globally. With a substantial user base exceeding 40 million individuals in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, Ruangguru has established itself as a prominent player in the EdTech industry.
The company’s growth strategy includes acquiring various EdTech startups, such as Schoters and Kalananti. In line with its expansion plan, Ruangguru recently announced its acquisition of Mclass. While the financial specifics of the transaction remain undisclosed, this strategic move by Ruangguru further strengthens its presence in Vietnam and positions it for continued growth in Southeast Asia.
What makes Mclass an attractive target?
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the development of digital education infrastructure, and Vietnam quickly adapted. About 73.2 percent of the Vietnamese population has internet access and utilizes the web to consume a broad range of digital media.
Mclass, a leading direct teaching platform in Vietnam, has gained in popularity due to its unique approach to online education. With over 10 million users on its social media channels, the app has conducted live classes for 85,000 students and solidified its reputation as an innovative player in the online learning sphere.
This landscape presents Ruangguru with an opportunity to reach a substantial user base and design captivating and dynamic lessons. Furthermore, Mclass is well-suited to capitalize on the growing trend of online learning, aligning with the increasing demand for accessible and interactive online education.
According to Ruangguru’s co-founder and COO, Iman Usman, Mclass was acquired to strengthen its presence in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The acquisition aligns with Ruangguru’s vision of becoming a prominent educational technology company in the region, according to a statement posted on LinkedIn.
Ruangguru has consolidated its position in the high school segment in Vietnam, and the acquisition of Mclass represents a pivotal step forward in expanding its offerings and strengthening its foothold.
Usman also emphasized that both Ruangguru and Mclass share a common vision of improving access to quality education and fostering an enjoyable learning experience for students in Southeast Asia. Mclass is now poised to enhance its services and deliver an enhanced learning experience to its student community.
In 2015, MindX (formerly known as Techkids) was established.
Starting from a free coding class, MindX has expanded its reach nurturing the talents of approximately 40,000 students. MindX aspires to become a key pillar of education and startup ecosystems, serving as a Global Technology Talent Center.
“Our vision is to create miniature Silicon Valleys that foster young technology talents for the benefit of Vietnam and the world,” co-founder, Ha Nguyen, told VN Economy in an interview.
Following a successful Series A funding round, which raised US$3 million, MindX continues to forge ahead.MindX embarked on the Series B fundraising round earlier this year. Leading the Series B round was Kaizenvest from Singapore, an investor with a track record of funding renowned EdTech startups, such as Byju’s, upGrad, and the Yola English center system, among others.
MindX secured a substantial investment of US$15 million from Kaizenvest; Aksorn, a Thai education group; Japanese HR group, Mynavi; and Wavemaker Partners.
Furthermore, the Series B round involves a loan from Beacon Fund (headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City), an impact investment firm focused on supporting women-owned and led businesses in Southeast Asia.
What makes MindX an attractive investment?
Sandeep Aneja, the Founder and Managing Partner at Kaizenvest, said in a press release that it was the quality of MindX’s product that had drawn the firm to this investment.
“MindX is in a favorable position to lead the technology education market in Vietnam. We are delighted to be accompanying the founding team because they continuously create quality educational products. We also believe that this investment is commensurate with the potential of the market and is a testament to our belief in the growing need to learn technology. in Southeast Asia,” he said.
MindX has grown significantly since its inception with nearly 40 facilities currently operating in Vietnam. The company offers training in various technology-focused subjects, such as blockchain programming, data analysis, UI-UX design, and software testing. Over 35,000 students have graduated from MindX since 2015.
Its strong network of partnerships with over 200 businesses in countries like Singapore, Australia, and Thailand provides global access to the skilled digital workforce in Vietnam.
This investment from Kaizenvest reflects the Singapore-based firm’s confidence in the Vietnam market potential and underlines its commitment to supporting tech learning expansion in Southeast Asia.
Kaizenvest will likely collaborate closely with MindX’s founding team to capitalize on the growing demand for technology education and its value in the education sector in Vietnam and the region.
MindX also aims to connect Vietnamese technology professionals with employment opportunities in the United States and Europe, aligning with the growing demand for skilled technical personnel in these regions.
The success stories of EdTech companies, such as TEKY, Mclass, and MindX, highlight the transformative power of foreign investments in Vietnam’s education landscape. These companies have leveraged foreign capital and expertise to expand their reach, enhance their offerings, and deliver high-quality education solutions to students nationwide.
Furthermore, partnerships and acquisitions negotiated between foreign investors and local EdTech firms have created synergies that propel the sector’s growth and enable the development of cutting-edge technologies and learning methodologies.
Vietnam’s EdTech sector presents a promising investment landscape for foreign investors. With the right approach and partnerships, foreign investors can contribute to the transformation of Vietnam’s education ecosystem while reaping the benefits of a rapidly expanding market.
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