Vietnamese B2B marketplace Telio said to bag Tiger Global-led Series A

After India, global investor Tiger Global Management’s hunt for the next big investment opportunity appears to have brought it to Vietnam.

DealStreetAsia has learnt that Tiger Global is leading a Series A financing round for Vietnam B2B e-commerce startup Telio. Joining the investment are Telio’s existing investor Sequoia Capital as well as new backers including GGV Capital, DST Global and Indian e-commerce unicorn Udaan.

The quantum of Series A funding for Telio could not be verified. The financing is likely to be the first deal in Vietnam for GGV Capital, DST Global and their portfolio company Udaan.

When contacted by DealStreetAsia, Tiger Global declined to comment. Requests sent to Telio and other investors did not elicit a response.

Tiger Global’s maiden venture deal in Vietnam was its participation in a Series C round for food delivery and restaurant listings startup Foody Corporation in 2015, which was later acquired by Sea Limited for $64 million in 2017. Meanwhile, Sequoia has invested in video streaming operating system provider Uiza through Surge, and credit scoring firm Trusting Social.

Telio was amongst the first 17 startups that each received a $1.5-million financing from Sequoia Surge, the accelerator programme designed for Indian and Southeast Asian companies by the Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Surge recently launched its second cohort with 20 startups selected in the region.

Founded in 2018 by Hanoi-based entrepreneur Bui Sy Phong, Telio connects small, traditional retailers with brands and wholesalers on its centralised platform. It claims to provide retailers with better pricing and more efficient logistics while offering brands and wholesalers more efficient turnover, reduced costs and better end-customer level data.

Phong has garnered 10 years of experience in telecommunications and banking in France and Vietnam. Before Telio, he founded OnOnPay, a fintech company backed by Captii Ventures and Gobi Partners.

“Sy Phong drew inspiration for Telio after being selected for the Alibaba Leadership Programme in 2018 and learning about the much-advanced B2B landscape in China and India,” Surge wrote about Telio on its portfolio page.

While Vietnamese B2C e-commerce businesses have been raising big funding rounds, the country’s B2B marketplaces in the country have gained little exposure. If the Telio deal is confirmed, its investors would be amongst the earliest to tap this segment.

In Vietnam, e-commerce has been the main growth driver of the country’s digital economy. The country was named one of the two pacesetters of Southeast Asia’s Internet sector by the e-Conomy SEA 2019 report prepared by Google, Temasek and Bain. Per the report, e-commerce in the entire region is projected to reach $153 billion by 2025.

B2B marketplace Udaan is the fastest Indian startup to achieve unicorn status. It recently closed a $585-million financing that GGV and DST joined, which valued the company at $2.5-3 billion. Udaan was earlier reported to be in talks with fund managers including Tiger Global but nothing materialised.

These unicorn hunters have recently made a string of co-investments in India. Besides Udaan, DST Global, GGV Capital and Sequoia have invested in SaaS startup KhataBook. Tiger Global and Sequoia, meanwhile, have backed a $35-million Series C round for marketing platform CleverTap.

Grab-backer GGV Capital’s managing partner Hans Tung had recently said that the firm will be selective in its Southeast Asia and India investments in view of surging valuations. The firm will allocate about 20 per cent of its latest $1.9-billion fund to these markets.

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.