Vietnam: Used car platform Caramo raises funding; Founder Team acquires Tonkin Coffee

Caramo, Vietnam’s first used car trading service, has attracted an angel investment from serial entrepreneur Jonah Levey. In another development, a newly established venture building team called Founder Team said it will be buying Hanoi’s one-time famous F&B chain Tonkin Coffee.

Used car platform Caramo raises angel investment

Caramo, Vietnam’s first used car trading platform, has announced that it has raised an undisclosed angel funding from VietnamWorks’ founder Jonah Levey.

Cong Tran, founder and CEO of Caramo, said, Vietnam’s used car market was estimated at $3 billion. Yet the country had not seen application of technology to enable trouble-free trading process for both sellers and buyers, he added. 

Caramo is also raising a seed round to facilitate its operation, as the startup is still in a pilot phase. While the service is free for buyers, Caramo earns a fee from the sellers upon successful transactions. 

“We have received 65 requests of buying and selling, nine signed contracts and two completed transaction. Caramo is helping buyers and sellers to the end of trading, not listing used cars only,” Tran said in a statement.

All used cars must pass Caramo’s 240-point inspection process before being introduced on the platform and buyers, he added.

Local Vietnamese purchased 300,000 new cars in 2016, while the number of used car transactions was three times higher, according to an analyst from Toyota Vietnam.

In addition to Caramo, Tran is co-founder of pawnshop chain F88, which has grabbed an eight-figure investment from private equity firm Mekong Capital, and two fintech startups, BankGo and Tima – which have also raised seed funding. He also acts as founder of the Topica Founder Institute.

Jonah Levey was founder and former chairman-cum-CEO at recruitment site VietnamWorks, acquired by En-Japan ịn 2013. He also serves as a board member at Mekong Capital and Galaxy Media & Entertainment.

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New venture builder acquires Tonkin Coffee for over $1m

Founder Team, a newly established venture building team in Vietnam, has entered an agreement to acquire 90 per cent interest in Hanoi-based one-time famous coffee chain Tonkin for more than $1 million, leaving a 10 per cent stake for its founder.

Tonkin Coffee was launched in 1997 as a family-owned business. It had been a popular hangout for local people before it began shutting down several stores since 2012. Local media reports then said the collapse was because the company entered an expansion trap, where it could not facilitate the growth.

Founder Team said, it will revive the brand, combining Tonkin founder’s expertise in operating coffee shops with its retail experience to keep the business sustainable.

Tonkin Coffee will be expanded through franchising model across the country.