Vietnam’s Sapo Technology raises Series A round led by S Korea’s Smilegate Investment

Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Florian Wehde

Vietnam-based multi-channel sales and management platform Sapo Technology has raised a Series A funding round led by South Korean investor Smilegate Investment, according to a senior executive of the company.

Vietnam’s homegrown venture capital firm Teko Ventures, which is also an existing investor in the startup, participated in the latest financing round, said Sapo CEO Tran Trong Tuyen. He did not disclose the quantum of investment but said that it was a seven-digit USD amount.

Established in 2008, Sapo (formerly known as DKT Technology) claims to have over 67,000 customers using its multichannel e-commerce management tool, which was formed through the merger of its e-commerce website design tool Bizweb and sales management software Sapo.

Sapo’s other products include Sapo GO, a management tool for sellers on Facebook and online marketplaces, Sapo FNB for restaurants, Sapo Omnichannel, as well as delivery and payment units.

The Series A funding will be used to strengthen Sapo’s play in payment and business financing, and expand its operations in other Southeast Asian markets, Tuyen said.

“While Teko Ventures supports us with their local expertise, Smilegate Investment will help accelerate our growth through its regional network and experience in investing in our sector,” he said.

“We confidently invest in Sapo,” said Kyoung-hwan Kim, vice president of Smilegate Investment, reasoning that the firm invested in a similar company in South Korea that brought it a 150 per cent IRR.

Smilegate Investment is the corporate venture capital arm of Korean game developer Smilegate. It has also backed Lozi, another niche e-commerce startup in Vietnam.

Sapo raised its first venture round from Japan’s CyberAgent Capital in 2014 before roping in Teko Ventures as a backer in 2018.

Teko Ventures is an investment unit of VNLIFE, which is backed by the SoftBank Vision Fund and Singapore’s GIC. VNLIFE is widely known for its fintech business VNPAY and also engages in online travel, mobility and new retail.

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.