Vietnam-based B2B e-commerce platform Telio has raised a US$25 million Series A round led by Tiger Global. Joining the round are Sequoia India, GGV Capital, and RTP Global. Telio connects small retailers with brands and wholesalers on a centralised platform
Bui SyPhong (Left)
Even with its large retail landscape, Vietnam is still dominated by traditional, fragmented trade channels such as the endearingly termed ‘mom and pop’ street shops, that accounts for over 60 per cent of FMCG sales in urban areas and over 90 per cent in rural Vietnam, according to a report by Kantar.
Telio connects these small retailers with brands and wholesalers on a centralised platform that provides them with more choices, more affordable pricing, and more efficient logistics.
The startup was founded in November 2018 by a team with combined backgrounds in tech, retail, logistics, and financial services, made up of only 20 employees at the start. It started with a focus on FMCG and has plans to expand to several new verticals in the next few months.
Bui SyPhong, the startup’s Founder and CEO, brought over 10 years of experience across telecommunication companies and banks in France and Vietnam. SyPhong is known to previously set up two startups, a P2P car rental platform and an e-wallet startup both in Vietnam.
Typically, these small retailers need to call 50 to 80 wholesalers and distributors only to place individual orders, which then can take up to a week to arrive. With Telio’s smartphone app, a retailer can find, select, and order products from a range of aggregated brands and distributors. Besides centralising the reorder process, Telio is also building a network of warehouses to ensure next day delivery to improve a small shop owner’s ability to manage both stock and cash flow.
SyPhong told Startup Thailand
News (now rebranded as Thailand Startup News)
, “Our mission is to empower the large population of small retailers in Vietnam, who play an important role in our economy and the local neighbourhoods they serve.
The inventory supply chain in our country is very fragmented, and these small retailers don’t have a clear view of pricing, quality and even availability of most products. By providing an easy-to-use central platform, we aim to help mom-and-pop retailers leverage technology to run and grow their businesses more efficiently.”
The latest Google e-Conomy SEA 2019 Report named Vietnam as one of the two leading pacesetters of Southeast Asia’s internet economy, alongside Indonesia. Vietnam’s internet economy is poised to reach US$12 billion in 2019, and these small shop retailers have a big slice in it.
Currently serving over 3,000 retailers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with their monthly stock, the company has received an average of seven orders per month on its platform over the last eight months. Telio was one of 17 companies in the inaugural cohort of Surge, a scale-up programme launched by Sequoia Capital India earlier this year for startups in India and Southeast Asia.
The company is also planning to expand to other South-East Asia Markets including Thailand next year.