Vietnamese B2B e-commerce platform Telio raises USD 25 million Series A

Telio was one of 17 companies from the inaugural cohort of Surge, a scale-up program launched by Sequoia Capital India earlier this year.

Vietnamese B2B e-commerce platform Telio announced today it has raised USD 25 million in its series A funding round led by Tiger Global. Sequoia India, GGV Capital, and RTP Global also participated in the round.

Telio was one of 17 companies from the inaugural cohort of Surge, a scale-up program launched by Sequoia Capital India earlier this year for startups in India and Southeast Asia.

Founded in November 2018, Telio connects small retailers in Vietnam with brands and wholesalers on a centralized platform that delivers more choices, better pricing, and more efficient logistics.

Vietnam’s large retail landscape is still dominated by traditional and fragmented trade channels. Small ‘mom and pop’ street shops account for over 60% of FMCG sales in urban areas and over 90% in rural Vietnam, according to Kantar.

Bui Sy Phong, Telio’s founder and CEO, said most small retailers in Vietnam don’t have a clear view of pricing, quality, and even availability of most products.

The startup provides a smartphone app, where a retailer can find, select and order products from a wide range of brands and distributors. Telio is also building a network of warehouses to ensure next-day delivery, which vastly improves a small shop owner’s ability to manage both stock and cash flow.

Phong previously founded two startups, a peer-to-peer car rental platform and most notably e-wallet startup OnOnPay. The company said it now serves over 3,000 retailers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

With the new funding, the company plans to expand to four more cities in the country and onboard 15,000 retailers to the platform by June 2020, and plans to expand to other verticals besides FMCG.

Jixun Foo, managing partner at global VC firm GGV Capital, an early investor in Alibaba during the formative years of e-commerce in China, noted that mom and pop shops in Vietnam have historically been sustainable despite the expansion of modern retail and e-commerce.

“By leveraging technology, Telio can tap into the micro-entrepreneurs’ knowledge of their catchment area and their community-level efficient scale to unlock their true potential and empower the community,” Foo said.

The Vietnamese ecosystem is widely viewed as one of the hottest destinations for tech startups and investors, driven by an emerging middle class, robust digital economy growth, and strong entrepreneurial culture. According to the latest Google-Temasek-Bain report, Vietnam’s digital economy is expected to top USD 43 billion by 2025.

The country’s aggregate funding amount is predicted to top USD 800 million by the end of this year, according to a report by Singapore-based Cento Ventures and ESP Capital. Funding has been pouring into mostly payments, logistics and e-commerce — sectors that are poised to transform the country’s next phase of growth.