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Fintech startups: Must be "unique”

09:21 | 09/10/2019

VCN - Startups in financial technology (Fintech) are posing great opportunities for young people. However, speaking with Customs News, Ms. Thach Le Anh (photo), Chairman of Vietnam Silicon Valley (VSV), said this also included many challenges and high competition, requiring startups to find new and different directions.

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In your opinion, what are the opportunities and challenges for young people starting a Fintech company?

Fintech is an area of technology-based development, while startups are mostly young people and they rely mainly on technology. Therefore, if startups work hard to penetrate big businesses, find "loopholes" that can be solved by technology and unique solutions, the chances of success will be great. Moreover, Fintech is always associated with the banking and finance industry, so a successful startup can be acquired or invested by banks and financial companies. In addition, Fintech is considered an appropriate direction in the technology era, a solution to minimize costs for commercial banks, so it is being promoted by regulatory agencies and the State Bank with more appropriate policies, facilitating young people in this field.

However, startups in Fintech face difficulties. Because the law on venture capital in Vietnam is not yet available. Moreover, startups may be entangled in banking finance and credit laws. These difficulties can prevent startups from obtaining a license, making their business impossible. In particular, banking and finance industry in Vietnam is relatively “conservative”.

Startups in Fintech are receiving a lot of encouragement from domestic and foreign state agencies and organizations; will it lead to "overheating"?

In my opinion, the development of Fintech startups will not be “overheating”, because it is a very specific field which mainly uses information technology, but entrepreneurs must have knowledge in finance and banking. Moreover, the financial and banking industry has a lot of issues that need to be solved by Fintech. In addition, Fintech's growth rate depends on the law, if difficulties in any field are solved, there will be many startups developing in that field.

What do startups need to do to be successful in this field, madam?

As I said above, due to the characteristics of Fintech, not only startups but also big companies who want to develop in this field must find their own solutions. Otherwise they will not be competitive. Therefore, startups must first, be unique; second, be on top and third, be the best. If they can resolve these three points, it is possible to call for capital, and if they keep imitating each other, attracting investors will be very difficult. Because when pouring capital into a startup, investors do not want to face competition but want to share investment opportunities for the most effective solutions.

These issues must not only be done by startups, but also by large businesses. However, startups keep trying and Vietnamese startups have won first prizes in many competitions. At VSV, in one year, there were startups growing from US$7 million (at the time of valuation), to US$10 million and then to US$30 million, so the potential to grow to hundreds of millions of dollars and even more could be just in the next few years. Therefore, there is no reason for startups to stop hoping and try.

What does the government agency need to do to support Fintech startups, madam?

In the current context, the most important thing for Fintech startups in particular and the startup community in general is that the Government needs to build a Law on Venture Capital. Having a full legal corridor, we can call for capital from investment funds, which are the motivation to help startups go further. Thanks to the law, every issue and level of investment will be covered. Because there are unforeseen things in venture capital, the law needs to be detailed as much as possible for investors and startups to be secure. Without the law, it is very easy to criminalize.

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Moreover, with the law, it is expected that we will have the venture capital market in Vietnam so that startups do not have to go to other countries to raise capital. Many startups of VSV in particular and Vietnam in general have gone to Singapore, even investors have gone there to open funds. Because the law as well as the provisions, the responsibilities are very clear to the parties involved in the country. Therefore, if the law is not available, it will be difficult for true Vietnamese startups to be successful. Moreover, if startups need to go abroad to start their business, it will not contribute to the country's economic growth, except for a small portion of tax.

Thank you, madam!

By Huong Diu (recorded)/ Ha Thanh