GEC-KIP Fund announces investment in Vietnamese PropTech

Golden Equator Capital and Korea Investment Partners' co-managed venture fund, GEC-KIP Technology and Innovation Fund, has announced a USD2.3 million investment into Vietnamese PropTech Rever.

Rever is a start-up which promises to streamline the property investment experience, as it provides users with a streamlined real estate search and transaction experience, reducing the effort and cost involved in finding a property.

The company is currently Vietnam’s leading PropTech platform, having been founded in 2016 by Phan Le Manh, who has over 10 years of experience in creating digital solutions for businesses in the country. Prior to founding Rever, he was the Marketing Director for Zalo, Vietnam’s largest messaging app, in a similar vein to WhatsApp, which itself is hoping to become the first Vietnamese company to branch overseas, hoping to open an office in New York.  

Those looking to purchase property in Vietnam are faced with an overwhelming number of agencies to choose from, with over 7,000 in operation in the country. Rever hopes to contribute to the consolidation of such an oversaturated market and improve transparency by offering its users tailored solutions.

The platform works with real estate agents, using data registered within the platform to allow real estate agents to provide relevant and transparent advice to their clients, allowing clients to find their ideal property, be it for residential or investment purposes.

With this investment, Rever intends to deepen its domestic presence, planning to open 30 additional experience centres over the course of the next 18 months, hoping to capitalise on the 200,000-and-growing annual real estate transactions that happen in Vietnam annually.

It recently supported the sales of properties part of the high-profile Empire City and Diamond Island projects, Rever’s affiliation with these projects showcasing its strength in the Ho Chi Minh market.

However, Rever has set its sights on growing beyond Ho Chi Minh City, with plans to branch into the emerging key markets of Hanoi, Haiphong and Nha Trang, among others.

 “Real estate markets globally are seeing major shifts from the traditional way of transacting to more tech-enabled ways,” Phan Le Manh said for a press release. “Technology has enabled agents to serve more clients and more efficiently – helping buyers by making the property selection and purchase process safer and helping sellers by making the valuation and asset transfer process more expedient. With our investors’ support and network, we are well-poised for a more accelerated growth this year and become the market leader in Vietnam.”

Daren Tan, Managing Partner for Venture Investments at Golden Equator Capital, added that “We are bullish on tech-based next-generation service platforms that help bring efficiencies to traditional service industries, yet having offline touchpoints for better customer service and gaining trust. Existing case studies such as the decacorn Lianjia in China show that this hybrid offline-and-online PropTech model can succeed in a very fragmented market like Vietnam.”

He continued that “Alongside existing investors, we will provide Rever with the support to become the leading digital hybrid agency in Vietnam that offers an efficient and transparent experience to home buyers and sellers.” 

As part of the investment, it has been announced that Synclare Kim, Executive Director at Korea Investment Partners, is to join Rever’s Board of Directors; he will be supporting the Rever team in their endeavours and will represent the GEC-KIP Fund.

Kim commented for the press release that “The diverse background of the founding team at Rever and their extensive experience at some of the country’s largest tech players such as VNG and Grab, gives us confidence that the management is well-positioned to continue ramping up growth rapidly. We are looking forward to an exciting journey ahead with the team!” 

Beyond its involvement with Rever, the GEC-KIP Fund recently invested in Ohmyhome, another PropTech company based in Singapore, putting USD4 million into the property transaction platform, which provides an end-to-end real estate ecosystem.

On top of its real estate investments, Golden Equator Capital has funds which span high-growth technology and prime currencies. The Singapore-based fund manager is focused on Southeast Asia, serving clients in 12 different countries, offering in-house expertise, performance consistency and transparent reporting, with experienced, sector-specialist investment advisors.

Korea Investment Partners offers venture capital investments, with over 30 years of private equity investment experience. The firm has offices in Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Sunnyvale, and has developed expertise and presence across a range of industries.