Organic soybean beverage startup Soya Garden has secured VND20 billion ($880,000) from Hanoi-based education-focused Egroup after impressing its chairman Nguyen Ngoc Thuy on the first season of Shark Tank Vietnam.
Soya Garden’s co-founder and CEO Hoang Anh Tuan confirmed the investment to DEALSTREETASIA, adding that the startup has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a strategic partnership with Singapore’s Mr Bean Group Limited, which owns 65 retail stores in Singapore, Japan and the Philippines.
The detailed information on this strategic partnership, however, has not been revealed.
Egroup chairman Thuy, meanwhile, said that he was convinced by the market opportunity for soybean beverages in Vietnam as well as Soya Garden’s business plans. If the first round of investment is successful, the group may pour additional capital in the startup.
Tuan said the investment from Egroup will be used to hire more personnel and build the firm’s IT infrastructure to support its plans to open 30 new stores in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The soybean beverage startup, which was founded in 2016, currently has 13 stores, including 10 stores in Hanoi and three in other cities. It plans to develop a larger variety of products from soybean, offering an alternative to coffee and tea.
Established in 2008, Egroup focuses on online education in Vietnam. It owns Apax Holdings which operates about 50 English language training centres across the country.
Vietnam is seeing increased demand for soybeans and related products. According to a report by the US Department of Agriculture, the Southeast Asian country’s soybean imports are forecast to increase to 1.9 million metric tons (MMT) for marketing year (MY) 2018-19, compared with 1.65 MMT in MY2017-18.
Milk tea (bubble tea) is also fast gaining popularity in Vietnam. The Vietnamese milk tea market is valued at $282 million and has had an annual growth rate of 20 per cent, according to Euromonitor.
By Quynh Nguyen