In 1999, a Word Bank program called the Mekong Private Sector Development Facility (MPDF) performed a feasibility study for a fund to invest in Small and Medium Size Enterprises in the Mekong region
By mid 2000, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) took a strong interest in the project. Chirs Freund began to collaborate with MPDF and ADB toward the establishment of this private equity fund.
Mekong Capital Ltd
Mekong Capital Ltd was incorporated in March 2001 with an office opened in Ho Chi Minh City.
Mekong Enterprise Fund (MEF)
Mekong Enterprise Fund (MEF) was launched in April 2002, with $18.5 milion. This is the first new Vietnam-focused fund to be launched after the Asian financial crisis.
Mekong Enterprise Fund made 10 investments from 2003 until 2005, most in family-owned manufacturing businesses. Some of MEF's investments are:
Mekong Enterprise Fund II (MEF II)
Mekong Enterprise Fund II (MEF II) was launched in June 2006, with %50 million. The Fund represented a shift in Mekong Capital's focus to consumer-oriented business, and in a newer, generation of Vietnamese entrepreneurs with a strong commitment to manage companies based on best practices.
In connection with the launch of this fund, Mekong Capital opened its 2nd office in Hanoi in 2006
MEF II made 10 investments from 2006 to 2011. Some of those are:
Vietnam Azalea Fund (VAF)
Mekong Capital also launched the $64 million Vietnam Azalea Fund (VAF) in June 2007, to focus on privatization and pre-IPO investments in Vietnamese blue chip companies. Some of VAF's investment are:
In late 2007, Mekong Capital commenced an intensive transformation of ots corporate culture, with the intention of creating a culture and a team that would deliver consistently high private equity returns.
In July 2008, all of Mekong Capital team members together conquered Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia, promient mountain in South East Asia.
By 2009, the positive impact of this transformation was clear and in 2010, Mekong Capital was the subject of two case studies:
Harvard Business School Case Study: Mekong Capital: Building A Culture of Leadership in Vietnam
London Business School Case Study: Mekong Capital: The importance of corporate culture in emerging market private equity, which was included in the text book: International Private Equity by Eli Talmor and Florin Vasvari.
Vision Driven Investing
Vision Driven Investing is an approach pioneered by Mekong Capital which incorporates best practices from private equity, change management, leadership development and strategy consulting and combines them into a single framework which is the foundation for Mekong Capital's post-investment value creation approach.
Since implementing this approach in 2009, there has been a significant positive improvement in the net profit growth rates of the companies that have applied this system, which currently includes almost all of the investments in Mekong Enterprise Fund II and Vietnam Azalea Fund.
Vision Driven Investing 2.0
Based on the initial success of the Vision Driven Investing model at improving the performance of investee companies, Mekong expanded the model to make it more robust in addressing other areas that are also critical foundations to the success of the investee companies.
Chad Ovel, second Partner, joined the firm and the Company transitioned to a partnership model.
PEI Operational Excellence Awards
Won PEI Operational Excellence Awards in the Asia Small-Cap category based on the success of its investment in Mobile World Investment Corporation.
Frontier Market Firm of the Year
Won Frontier Market Firm of the Year by Private Equity International based on extraordinary performance when its investee companies achieved weighted average net profit growth of 128%, led by MobileWorld, Nam Long, Intresco and PNJ.
PEI Operational Excellence Awards
Won PEI Operational Excellence Awards in the Asia-Pacific Small-Cap category based on the success of its investment in Golden Gate Joint Stock Company.
Mekong Enterprise Fund III
Mekong Enterprise Fund III ("MEF III") was launched in May 2015. MEF III completed its first closing with $87.4 million and final closing in May 2016 with US$112 million in capital commitment.
Vision Driven Investing 3.0
Based on the initial success of the Vision Driven Investing 1 & 2 model at improving the performance of investee companies, Mekong expanded the model to make it more robust in addressing other areas that are also critical foundations to the success of the investee companies.
Frontier Market Firm of the year
Mekong Capital has been awarded Frontier Market Firm of the year in Asia for 2016 by Private Equity International. The Private Equity International Awards 2016 are voted by investment industry professionals, and included more than 35,000 votes across all categories for the 2016 awards.
PEI Operational Excellence Award
Mekong Capital awarded the 2017 Private Equity International Award for Operational Excellence for a small cap investment in Asia, based on the performance of Mobile World.