Exclusive: TNB Ventures strikes 1st deal in Vietnam, co-invests 8-digit sum in e-commerce startup

TNB Ventures
Photo: TNB Ventures' Facebook page

Singapore-based early stage investor TNB Ventures has made its maiden investment in Vietnam by co-funding an eight-digit amount into a startup operating in logistics and e-commerce, an executive with the firm told this portal.

The financing round “is very large”, and TNB Ventures participated as a co-investor, Michael Yap, managing partner at the firm, said on the sidelines of the Smart City Innovation Challenge in Hanoi on Monday.

However, he declined to disclose the name of the investee company.

A source familiar with the deal told DEALSTREETASIA that the investment amount was $20 million. “It is the first fundraising round for this e-commerce startup,” the source said, without revealing the name of the startup.

Founded in 2016, TNB Ventures has a heavy focus on the IoT sector, having invested in seed rounds through the TNB Accelerator Fund, and series A and B rounds through TNB Aura Fund as well as TNB SPRING.

TNB Aura Fund is a partnership with Australia-headquartered boutique investment firm Aura Group, while the Singapore firm is mandated as the investment partner of SPRING SEEDS Capital in the other venture fund.

TNB’s later stage investments amount to S$4 million.

The venture capital firm has recently joined hands with the Mekong Business Initiative to scout and finance startups with smart city solutions to apply in the Vietnamese market.

“Startups should look for their own value proposition, then people will be investing in them. And the Vietnam ecosystem right now is very exciting,” Yap said.

He added that TNB Ventures prefers to lead the investments, joined by other stakeholders, to help startups access to bigger resources.

“We not only provide capital, but we also provide the environment so startups can grow more effectively.”

Yap also said during the Smart City Innovation Challenge that regional startups emerging from this competition were potential for venture capital funding.

He commented on the strategy to place bets on frontier tech: “When you do early-stage investment, you’ve got to look at technologies that will become mature down the road. The job of a VC is to envision where big disruption will happen.”

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