Alibaba-backed eWTP invests in Vietnamese food chain Homefarm

Alibaba’s eWTP Technology and Innovation Fund has made an undisclosed investment in the Vietnamese food chain Homefarm, DealStreetAsia has learnt.

The investment is a “seven-digit figure”, according to the firm’s CEO Tran Van Truong.

Founded in 2014 by Van Truong and his partners, Homefarm is a chain of stores selling imported food in Vietnam, combining modern shopping channels, online sales, and home delivery options.

“The proceeds of the funding round will be used to develop and expand our chain of stores with a target to reach 1,000 stores by 2025,” said Van Truong, who is CEO of the firm. As of July 2021, Homefarm operated 150 stores in Vietnam.

In addition to the existing sales channels, Homefarm will continue to distribute goods on e-commerce platforms to reach more customers. With this investment, Homefarm will quickly get into digital transformation, access and develop modern sales methods, he added.

The company is due to make an official announcement on the funding.

The latest funding was through ReDefine Capital Fund, a Singapore-registered investment entity controlled by eWTP.

Alibaba’s eWTP Technology and Innovation Fund is a $600 million fund that was set up in 2018 with Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba and Ant Group as cornerstone investors. It aims to tap into startup opportunities in emerging markets as well as Chinese startups that target emerging markets.

Recently, DealStreetAsia reported that eWTP had re-upped in the Vietnamese retail firm Ficus Asia Investment by investing $10 million. The eWTP Fund had invested $50 million into Ficus last year.

In July, eWTP had invested $2 million in a Series A funding round in Vietnam-based Educa Corporation, which operates the edtech startup Edupia.

The eWTP Fund has also invested in the online-to-offline marketplace KKGroup and Chinese fintech firm XTransfer, logistics startup Flash Express (Thailand), and the Indian foodtech firm Box8.

Vietnam’s F&B sector has witnessed a spate of deals lately. In July, the foodtech startup KAMEREO raised $4.6 million co-led by Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand’s CPF Group, Quest Ventures, and Genesia Ventures.

Vietnam is one of the largest food production hubs in Southeast Asia, according to Goh Yiping, partner of Quest Ventures. “There is much room to grow in solving many of the inefficiencies of the supply chain today, improving farmers’ livelihood outcomes and procuring the best products for businesses and homes,” he said.

In 2020, Vietnam-based e-commerce startup Foodmap raised $500,000 in a seed funding round from Wavemaker Partners.

The retail sales of food products have consistently been increasing over the past few years and is forecast to cross $66 billion by 2023, according to Statista.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.