From his perch on the 57th floor of Ho Chi Minh City's tallest and most stylish office tower, Henry Nguyen is at the top of his game. In February, ten years of campaigning finally paid off as the city's first McDonald's has opened.
His entrepreneurial journey is also one of many firsts. McDonald's aside, he introduced tech-venture capitalism to his home country in 2004 and invested $100 million in a maiden fund for IDG Ventures Vietnam.
"I always look at Vietnam as the last of the East Asian tigers… What we've seen in the last two decades is the unleashing of the natural talent, the unleashing of this golden generation. You have perfect demographics here in Vietnam and this young generation is the one that's going to take Vietnam, a low income country, to a first world country and I feel that that's inevitable," Nguyen said.
Since its inception, IDG Ventures Vietnam has invested in over 45 companies and continues to invest in four to six companies a year. As managing director Nguyen's focus is on fast-growing businesses in the consumer, media and technology sectors that are in seed to growth phases of development. Some of the notable names he has funded include VC Corporation, YAN Media Group and Vat Gia.
As many continue to make comparisons between China and Vietnam, Nguyen said his native country's time is just on the horizon and while there are similarities to how China evolved in the technology space, there will also be "leap frog" opportunities.