Vietnam-born German politician hails passion of Vietnam’s startups

(VEN) – Vietnam-born Dr. Philipp Roesler, the former German politician who served as Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and Vice Chancellor, recently returned to Vietnam, accepting VinaCapital Ventures’ offer to chair its Advisory Board. Vietnam Economic News’ Minh Long spoke with him about this new chapter in his life.

Sky Pham meets with Dr. Philipp Roesler in a startup forum in Da Nang

As a successful overseas Vietnamese, did you plan to return to Vietnam to contribute to the country before receiving VinaCapital’s offer?

I have dreamed of returning Vietnam, but admittedly, Don Lam, the CEO of VinaCapital, was the one to help me realize this more quickly than initially expected. I have met a number of interesting, energetic and creative startups in Vietnam and found that it is the best time for me to return and give them support.

As the Chairman of VinaCapital Ventures Advisory Board, a venture capital platform focusing on investment in technology startups, what will you do to support Vietnamese startup efforts to access the regional and global markets?

I have two years of experience working as Federal Minister of Health, then Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and Vice Chancellor of Germany. During the time I worked as Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, I laid an accelerating foundation for German startups. I raised a community fund of 600 million euros to support German startups and came to Silicon Valley many times to connect German startups with US partners, major corporations and investors.

I held meetings between German startups and foreign investors, and arranged conferences with the participation of thousands of German founders and the attendance of major corporations and investment funds. Now, I think I will play this role for startups in Vietnam.

What do you think of the existing startup ecosystem in Vietnam?

I have spent more than one year learning about the startup ecosystem in Vietnam. Last November, at a startup forum in Da Nang, I realized two things: (1) the energy and passion of startups, and (2) the Vietnamese government’s support for the startup ecosystem. I have been convinced by Vietnamese founders and believe it’s time for Vietnamese creative startups to seek ways to regional and global markets.

Which criteria will you adopt to select and advise VinaCapital Ventures to invest in technology startups in Vietnam? Selecting suitable Vietnamese startups in which to invest is based on three major criteria: (1) Whether the founder has passion, dares to think, dares to do and dares to take risks; (2) Whether the business model is sustainable and (3) Whether the targeted market is large enough. Vietnam has large-scale industries and sectors, so we give priority to startups that provide solutions for each industry.

Dr. Philipp Roesler was born in Soc Trang Province and adopted by a German soldier’s family at the age of nine months. Over the past decade, he has taken an active part in technology activities and the development of startup



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