In Vietnam, several co-working spaces have opened up shop, with the WORK Saigon having just opened in Ho Chi Minh city, Hub.IT going strong in Hanoi, and, of course, the first and biggest Saigon Hub in Ho Ho Chi Minh city, just to name a few of the key players. It underlines a new heartbeat of activity growing in Vietnam. And this activity isn’t restricted to co-working spaces, either. Hub.IT is accelerating several startups, there’s a healthcare accelerator coming soon in Hanoi, and more potential accelerators are coming out of the Silicon Valley project.
On top of all this activity, just sandwiched between District 1 and District 2, there’s another unique accelerator that’s been growing for several years now. And it sports a gym, a spa, a swimming pool, and a bar. But first, let’s take a broader look at Egg.
What is Egg?
Egg is like a combination of an accelerator and an agency. On the accelerator side, Egg hosts a number of young startups in its co-working space. This includes a number of startups that connect on a theme of growth hacking and digital agency. There’s a web design startup called BCA, a web development startup called Evecoo, a media and events company called Cloud9, and more. These startups all come together under the same roof. But it’s not like a traditional accelerator where startups come in for a three-month period and come out having reached a number of KPI’s. The startups, by joining Egg, gain access to Egg’s global connections and contracts.
Thus, Egg Agency can bring in a contract with a multi-national corporation that wants to growth hack their products or access new markets. Egg, then, is the “glue that brings all these startups and brands together,” as Sieng Van Tran, founder of Egg, says. Through these contracts with big companies, the startups get a peek into how things would work in a large successful company. The big company can get excellent design work, web development, and more through the coordination with Egg. This not only allows the startups to learn and grow but also gets them money to keep them going.
All of the above puts Egg in good standing in several key areas: luxury travel, e-commerce, digital advertising, and growth hacking. As Sieng explains, “We can growth hack like nobody can because of the platform we’ve built.”
How does the spa, gym, pool, and bar fit into this?
At the core of Egg is a philosophy that leisure breeds creativity. Egg is tucked away at the Manor, a swanky high rise at the edge of District 1 and District 2, Ho Chi Minh city. On the ground floor is Egg’s current office, but the teams are quickly outgrowing the space and Egg has secured two more offices above for expansion. Just a one minute walk from the offices are Egg’s pool, gym, bar, and spa. It’s according to a sweet deal Egg has worked out with the Manor. Sieng says the structure is “optimized for creativity and health.” Entrepreneurs and employees at Egg, depending on their standing and needs, are given passes to workout, get a massage, or go for a swim. The Alpha Bar also provides healthy delicious food and drinks. There is no other accelerator in Vietnam that has these kinds of facilities, and last we checked, nothing like this in Asia.
The difficulty with startups is that when you’re still struggling and stressed out about growth and operating your company, you end up making really bad decisions. It’s for this reason that we’ve created an environment that allows founders, employees, partners, and others to get the space they need to be excellent.
At the same time, the leisure facilities also play into another perk for Egg’s startups and international partners: “a busman’s holiday”. For those unfamiliar with this UK-speak (Sieng was raised in London), a busman’s holiday is where you work while taking a holiday. In other words, coding from the beach and enjoying tropical islands while making business decisions.
A global reach: opening offices in Singapore and London
Sieng stumbled into starting up the Egg agency seven years ago when he decided to go back to his family’s hometown of Tra Vinh to teach family members and rural folks in the countryside town to do business. That office is still there, where many of the staff are crunching and analyzing the data behind many of Egg’s growth hacking campaigns. Since then, Egg has expanded into the large office in Ho Chi Minh city. On an international front, Egg recently opened offices in London and Singapore. The London office is billed to “find the next killer startups and help them to grow wherever we have offices in the future,” and the Singapore office has strong financial staff, but also houses several startups and projects. In the near future, Sieng is looking to open up offices in Dubai and the Silicon Valley. This will allow the Egg Agency to tackle multiple markets at once and give them access to potential startups that could fit into their model. He expects that most of back office work will come out of Vietnam, where in a few years he expects to have 200 to 300 people. The offices in London, Singapore, Dubai, Silicon Valley, and other cities will be sales and roll out offices.
Sieng sees Egg Accelerator as an “inverse Rocket Internet”. Where Rocket Internet copies existing Silicon Valley models and executes them in Europe and Asia, Egg spots startup or business ideas it believes are viable and coordinates with that company to launch or growth hack its product across the markets that Egg has access to. It’s a unique model that builds on what Vietnam has to offer.
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)