Vietnam-based Digital Entertainment Startup POPS Raises US$30 Million in Eastbridge Partners-led Round

Vietnamese digital entertainment startup POPS Worldwide announced that it has secured US$30 million in an investment round led by Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund and South Korean independent private equity firm Eastbridge Partners. Both investors are looking to invest in Southeast Asia’s burgeoning digital entertainment market, and with the funding both Eastbridge Partners and Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund will possess a significant minority stake in the Southeast-Asian multi-platform digital entertainment startup.

Established in 2011 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Eastbridge Partners is an independent private equity firm that focuses on mid-market growth capital investment opportunities in Korea and the wider Pan-Asia region. The firm manages 3 funds and has so far invested in 18 companies, including Unico Global, TCM Biosciences, Dewytree, Innowave and CS Bearing.

Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund is a joint initiative between South Korea-based Mirae Asset Financial Group and Naver Corporation, South Korea’s top internet portal. The joint growth fund aims to invest in industries that are going to benefit from technology development and rising income in high growth countries, for example those in the region of Southeast Asia, China and India. The fund made an investment of US$150 million in Southeast Asia’s unicorn Grab this August.

Founded in 2008, POPS Worldwide is a leading digital entertainment startup that currently owns and operates the largest channels spanning multiple platforms in Vietnam and Thailand, with more than 1,500 partners and millions of users across Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and more. The startup claims it is the largest distributor of copyrighted digital music, connecting artists with their fans on current leading music streaming services such as Apple iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music. Its diverse digital content library boasts more than 600,000 videos for its users.

POPS also announced the launch of its POPS App, which enables users to stream free digital content including original series and shows, music videos, entertainment videos and kids-friendly video content. According to POPS founder and chief executive officer Esther Nguyen, the investment from the Eastbridge Partners and Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund-led round will be used to scale its POPS App across the Southeast Asia region and to venture out to new markets, such as the Philippines.

Ji Kwang Chung, managing director of Mirae Asset Capital, said of the investment: “We believe in the sustainable competitiveness of Pops after their great success over the last 10 years on digital entertainment in Vietnam and Thailand. We share their belief that Pops’ opportunities in the region are enormous, and we look forward to seeing their efforts to achieve even greater success.”

With the funds, the company will also focus on investing in original local language content that is exclusive to its mobile and web platforms. The digital entertainment startup will also look to feature more “premium stories from global studios” for its new app. In addition, the startup may consider raising more capital and might consider acquiring other media companies to scale up its regional operations. Nguyen forecasts 2019 revenue growth of 150% for the startup while declining to reveal the company’s financial details.

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Derek Tan

Derek is the news editor at Absolute Market, a news media focusing on the Southeast Asian tech and startup scene. Contact him at derek [at] for any news pitch.