Vietnamese B2B e-commerce platform Kilo bags $5m pre-Series A funding

Kartick Narayan, CEO and founder of Kilo

Vietnamese B2B e-commerce platform Kilo has raised $5 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Altos Ventures, and January Capital with the aim of digitalising the local retail value chain via technology.

Kartick Narayan, CEO and founder of Kilo, confirmed the new funding round to DealStreetAsia.

The round was also joined by Goodwater Capital, Ascend Vietnam Ventures, Decisive Capital Management, Ratio Ventures, and other angel investors.

The pre-Series A funding brings the total funds raised by Kilo so far to $5.7 million. Last year, the startup had raised a seed funding round from Goodwater Capital, 500 Fintech, Singapore’s January Capital, 500 Startups Vietnam, and other prominent angel investors.

The fresh funds will be used by Kilo to grow its team in the next 12 months and enhance its platform for customers. The company also plans to add features such as financing, logistics, and self-service e-commerce store creation for MSMEs.

“Our aim is to enable and not disrupt the retail supply chain. Long-tail distribution is the backbone of the retail economy in Vietnam and we will empower sellers and retailers with better tools and systems to run a more efficient and profitable business,” Narayan told us in an interaction.

Before founding Kilo in 2020, Narayan was the CMO of Groupon, vice president of Coupang, and chief business officer of TIKI Corporation.

Kilo develops a retail platform that provides retailers access to price, assortment, and inventory management. The platform is designed specifically to serve small and medium-sized retailers.

The company claims that it has grown its net merchandise value by 320x since launching in October 2020. Kilo targets an approximately $180 billion retail market in Vietnam.

The investment in Kilo also marks the foray of Altos Ventures into Vietnam. “They will revolutionise the traditional retail industry in Vietnam with their maniacal focus on the customer and technology. The breadth of knowledge and expertise the team brings to market is exceptional and unmatched in the region,” Richard Song, partner at Altos Ventures told TechCruch.

In other recent deals in this space, B2B startup Telio raised $22.5 million from VNG as part of its pre-Series B financing round this month, backed by existing investors GGV Capital and Tiger Global.

Telio had in December 2019 raised a $25 million Series A investment led by Tiger Global, and joined by Sequoia India, GGV Capital, and RTP Global. Before that, the company had received a $1.5 million seed financing from Sequoia’s acceleration programme Surge.

The growth of B2B e-commerce in Vietnam is being driven by a steady growth of the country’s economy, along with the fast penetration of the internet and smartphones. Besides, the Gen X chort also acts as a catalyst since they are more open to shifting business from offline to online.

In addition, the Vietnamese government has unveiled a national e-commerce development plan for Vietnam, which will see the sector growing by 25% each year to reach $35 billion in sales within the next five years.

Vietnam has seen 8 million new digital consumers since the start of the pandemic (up to H1 2021), with 55% of them coming from non-metro areas. The stickiness of adoption also remains high as digital consumption has become a way of life — 97% of new consumers are still using the services and 99% intend to continue going forward, according to the latest report of e-Conomy SEA 2021 by Google, Temasek, and Bain.

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.