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New Advisory Board Chairman and investments for VinaCapital Ventures

Released at: 17:54, 16/03/2019

New Advisory Board Chairman and investments for VinaCapital Ventures

Photo: Khanh Chi (VET)

Dr. Philipp Rösler to take up role as fund also announces two investments in UrBox and Wee Digital.

by Hong Nhung

VinaCapital Ventures, VinaCapital’s technology investment company, announced on March 15 the appointment of Dr. Philipp Rösler, former German Vice Chancellor, as Chairman of its Advisory Board as well as two new investments - in digital e-gifting platform UrBox and Wee Digital, a fintech making digital banking safer and more intuitive, for an undisclosed sum.

As Chairman of the Advisory Board, Dr. Rösler will provide counsel to both VinaCapital Ventures and its investees. It is a role for which he is uniquely qualified. A cardiothoracic surgeon by training, in 2009 he became the first German federal minister of Asian heritage when he was appointed Minister of Health.

In 2011, he became Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Technology and it was while serving in this role that he became actively engaged with and promoted the German startup community. He has also served as an advisor to the Founder’s Fund, a US-based technology fund known for its engagement in companies such as Space X, Uber, PayPal, and Palantir.

Following his government service, Dr. Rösler joined the management board of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland and served as CEO of HCCF, a charity foundation based in New York.

“Philipp’s experience and perspective are extraordinarily unique,” said Mr. Don Lam, Co-Founder of VinaCapital. “He has served in both the public and private sectors. In Europe, he was a bridge between German startups and Silicon Valley and now he will play this and other roles for startups in Vietnam.”

“VinaCapital has been one of the most successful and longstanding venture capital investors in Vietnam,” Dr. Rösler said. “The country is blessed with enormous energy and talent and I look forward to playing a part in helping Vietnamese startups realize their full potential.”

Two new investments

Launched in late 2017, UrBox provides digital rewards, e-gifting, and loyalty programs via innovative marketing campaigns in user acquisition, user loyalty programs, and staff incentives. In just over a year, it has posted high, consistent growth in client numbers, merchant network, revenue, and product range. It currently has an extensive merchant network with hundreds of merchants with more than 3,000 outlets around Vietnam, ranging from food and beverages to entertainment establishments, convenience stores, and retail.

UrBox’s client base includes financial institutions, telcos, and regional unicorns. Enduring many hassles around rewards and loyalty when working at a large bank in Vietnam, the founding team decided to start UrBox to transform reward and loyalty programs to the next level.

Wee Digital was founded by serial entrepreneur Christian Nguyen, who returned to Vietnam after being raised in France. The company offers solutions that aim to define consumers’ digital banking experience using biometric “Identity” technology and Artificial Intelligence. As a first mover in Vietnam, Wee Digital has quickly built a high-profile client base of some of the country’s leading large conglomerates and banks.

VinaCapital Ventures last year announced investments in FastGo, a ride-hailing and e-payment company, and Logivan, an “Uber for trucks” that is working to make Vietnam’s logistics industry more efficient.

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