Vietnam-based e-commerce startup Sendo successfully closed a US$61 million Series C funding round which was just held recently, it announced. Participants of the aspiring unicorn’s Series C funding round, which raised the most amount of funds for the startup thus far, include such dignitaries as Softbank Venture Asia, SBI Group, Daiwa PI Partners and Beenos – all of which are also the startup’s existing investors – and feature some fresh faces including Kasikornbank, a major banking group in Thailand, and EV Growth, a joint venture between YJ Capital, SMDV and East Ventures. Previously, the Vietnamese startup had raised US$51 million in a Series B funding round led by Japan’s SBI Group last year.
Hai Linh Tran, chief executive officer of Sendo and one of its co-founders, said that the capital secured from its Series C financing round will be used to bolster the company’s efforts in the areas of research and development of key technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, besides expanding the features and services offered by its e-commerce platform to better serve the needs of its consumers and sellers.
He further added that even though the company had achieved its US$1 billion target of annualized gross merchandise volume sooner than anticipated, they still place much importance on maintaining the sustainable growth trajectory of its gross merchandise volume, and towards this end the startup will strive to continually improve shoppers’ experience on its platform in order to ensure consumer loyalty. The company’s efficiently-integrated ecosystem, which spans a myriad range of sectors covering logistics, advertising, financial services and more, enables the startup to diversify and dip their toes into multiple sources of revenue, which will eventually positively impact its bottom line.
A representative from Softbank Ventures Asia, one of the existing investors that participated in Sendo’s Series C funding round, remarked that the company’s vast experience with Vietnam’s domestic market ecosystem has enabled it to grasp the subtleties and tastes of local consumers, thus affording it the ability to maximise the potential of its business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer business model. Managing director and senior partner of Softbank Ventures Asia, Daniel Kang, said that Sendo’s e-commerce platform, which is focused on serving the entirety of Vietnam, not just its big cities, has made a win-win situation for all participants of its e-commerce ecosystem, providing buyers, sellers, financial organizations and advertising firms with solutions and services that serve to enhance their experience and performance.
Sendo, which was established in 2012, has steadily grown throughout the years to become Vietnam’s second-most visited e-commerce platform in 2019, overtaking Tiki – another major e-commerce company and one of its chief competitors – along the way. It is one of Southeast Asia’s aspiring unicorns – startups with valuations of US$100 million to just under US$1 billion – according to a report by Google and Temasek published this year. The startup’s platform currently boasts more than 10 million buyers and 300,000 sellers, and in terms of monthly web traffic Sendo comes in at fourth place among e-commerce sites operating in Vietnam.
With the US$61 million raised from its funding round, the e-commerce startup Sendo will look to further enhance its platform’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, while broadening and diversifying its platform offerings to both consumers and sellers. Given its admirable progress, it may well be the case that Sendo will reach unicorn status sooner rather than later.