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Vietnam ETA Pioneers

Portrait of Eduardo Batista and Thai Nguyen of LT Partners

Key Highlights

  1. In Vietnam's booming economy, two non-traditional searchers, Thai and Eduardo, are trailblazing the path of Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA), offering a new paradigm for sustainable development and responsible investing.

  2. Through effective collaboration with regional search funds and plans to build a diverse board of directors, these pioneers are turning unique challenges into promising opportunities in sectors like healthcare, education, and manufacturing.

  3. Despite initial skepticism, their pioneering efforts in ETA open up vast opportunities in Vietnam's market, empowering future entrepreneurs and contributing to the country's socio-economic landscape.

A New Chapter for ETA in Vietnam

A deep dive into the first search fund in Vietnam, its unique challenges and opportunities, and the role of Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) in driving responsible investing in the country.

In the vibrant and rapidly growing Vietnamese market, Thai and his partner, Eduardo, are two non-traditional searchers who have embarked on the journey of ETA, targeting the acquisition of businesses valued between $5-30 million. While neither partner holds an MBA, they make a compelling enough case as a team that they were able to secure a traditional search fund. This unique approach is set to shape the business landscape in Vietnam and contribute to the country's sustainable development and responsible investing.

Navigating the Promising Vietnamese Market

Vietnam's fast-growing economy, stable currency, and "golden population" make it an ideal location for ETA. With a wealth of mature businesses in need of succession solutions, this approach offers young, ambitious entrepreneurs the opportunity to manage and grow these enterprises. Sectors such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and B2B services catering to manufacturers present promising investment opportunities in Vietnam.

Cross-Border Collaboration and Challenges

Collaborating with other search funds in the region, such as those in Japan, has provided valuable insights and experiences. However, each culture and region present unique benefits and challenges. For instance, while the demographic and economic landscape in Japan is well-suited for search funds, Vietnam's market requires a more tailored approach to secure investor commitments and explain the ETA concept to potential sellers.

Strategies for Success

To navigate these challenges and capitalize on growth opportunities, Thai and Eduardo plan to build a well-rounded board of directors with a mix of local and international experience. They also aim to expand their acquisition targets into other sectors, such as furniture, construction, and high-end cutlery. Partnering with vocational schools to train students under the guidance of skilled workers could help secure a steady stream of high-quality labor for the businesses they acquire.

The Potential of Frontier Markets

Despite the challenges in fundraising and the skepticism from investors in frontier markets like Vietnam, there is immense potential for growth in this emerging market. The success of ETA in Vietnam will depend on forming strong partnerships, maintaining a clear vision for growth, and integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into business operations.

Guiding the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs considering ETA, it is essential to study the space carefully, leveraging resources like the Stanford Search Fund Primer and connecting with other ETA searchers in emerging markets. By doing so, they can unlock the full potential of ETA in Vietnam and contribute to the country's sustainable development and responsible investing landscape.

Pioneering the Future

The pioneering efforts of Thai and Eduardo in Vietnam's search fund space serve as an inspiring example for those looking to enter this promising market. Furthermore, their courageous leap is paving the way for future entrepreneurs to navigate this burgeoning landscape easily. With a vast pool of SMEs, supportive government policies, and ample room for growth, the ETA landscape in Vietnam is ripe with opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and the broader economy.


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