Cao Quy Vu Anh, the founder of FundStart, aims to help other startups get funding, as well as be prepared and resilient.
In search of a local Kickstarter
The idea behind FundStart took shape in 2014 after Mr Vu Anh, a Bachelor of Commerce alumnus, experienced a string of changes.
“As a business developer for an auto magazine group including three print and two online channels, I felt the need for a lot more original content which is more realistic and emotional for readers, rather than negative and violent,” Mr Vu Anh said.
“I tried to approach a local crowdfunding platform to explore more details on how to do this, but sadly they were closed.”
Then Mr Vu Anh noticed a gap in fundraising for startups through crowdfunding.
“At that time, I already had access to a lot of projects, and I could talk to people about their products and their journeys,” Mr Vu Anh said about his decision to enter the market and fill this gap.
“I also had solid on-the-ground knowledge about commerce through my time at RMIT Vietnam and from my other enterprises.”
A year later, he and his team finally registered his business, as there were no similar businesses listed.
“Even though FundStart adopted the crowdfunding strategy, we couldn’t embrace the model of Kickstarter [the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects] for the Vietnam market,” he said.
“Users cannot simply register an account and start publishing their information like on Kickstarter, as in Vietnam, this model might be very risky.
“They have to sign an agreement and have a legal bank document in our back-end system.”
Starting with the basics
Over the last four years, FundStart has worked with 240 startups, supporting them through services such as business planning, sales strategies, legal advice, and marketing plans.
“Most startups approach us with nothing but a very interesting idea, innovative product or service,” Mr Vu Anh shared.
“We provide the crowdfunding campaign, which is quite similar to a marketing campaign, as it can help maximise their exposure online, within their networks, and among our various networks.”
However, not all products or services go directly to the crowdfunding platform, he added.
“A B2C product or service is easy to get crowdfunding for, while a direct investment is more appropriate for a B2B one,” he explained.
“We successfully connected two of them [B2B services] to investors, and there are 12 startups from various industries on the FundStart platform currently.”
Vu Anh has rarely had a down moment over the last few years, and he enjoys the diverse networks he has built as FundStart has grown.
“In the startup world…we get close to each other very quickly,” Mr Vu Anh shared. “We know right away who our friends are and who is not going to work with us.”
“We have a lot of friends and partners from various industries, and they might be a book writer, a game designer, an artist, or a manufacturer.
“The vast network that we have organised is very beneficial to a new startup and adds more value to our unique enterprise.”
Story: Ha Hoang