Vietnam-based business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce startup Telio recently announced that it had secured US$25 million in a Series A funding round led by investment firm Tiger Global, which was founded by Charles Coleman in 2001 and manages US$4.4 billion worth of assets to date. Other participants of the fundraise include global venture capital firm GGV Capital, Sequoia Capital India, and Russia-based early-stage venture capital firm RTP Global. According to the B2B startup, the newly acquired funds will enable it to further extend its reach beyond Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and expand into four other cities in Vietnam. One of the company’s goals is to increase the number of retailers that it serves to 15,000 by the middle of 2020, and the fresh injection of funds will help to facilitate that process.
According to Bui Sy Phong, founder and chief executive officer of Telio, the B2B startup’s vision is to enable family-owned retailers and small businesses to vastly improve their performance and their bottom line by streamlining logistics and supply chain management by connecting them to suppliers and wholesalers through a centralized platform to facilitate the process of order fulfilment, thus empowering them. These household retailers and businesses are major contributors to Vietnam’s economy in the local communities and rural areas that they serve, but as the country’s inventory supply chain is still mainly controlled by dense and scattered legacy distribution channels, this causes an unfavourable situation in which the family-owned businesses and small retailers are unable to get a complete picture of the products that they want to acquire such as its affordability and quality.
Indeed, in order to better serve their small retailers and family-owned businesses in enhancing their performance and becoming more efficient, the startup intends to handle logistics on its own by developing a transportation network and system of warehouses to ensure that their clients are able to have their goods and products delivered right to their doorstep within 24 hours of ordering. This is in stark contrast to the delivery times of traditional distribution channels, which can sometimes take as long as seven days to complete. Therefore, Telio is disrupting the country’s logistics and supply chain space by providing a direct business-to-business centralized platform that allows retailers to choose and order from a wide variety of distributors and brands in one place instead of having to contact each wholesaler or distributor individually to place separate orders and delivering their goods within an efficient timeframe of 24 hours to ensure that no prolonged and unnecessary delays negatively impact their business.
My Linh, who is head of strategy at the e-commerce startup Telio, noted that the company discovered that for the majority of most family-run retail stores and businesses, the main issue isn’t just with digital or online payment systems, but also with the order fulfilment, logistics and inventory supply chain processes. Telio was able to tackle these particular issues and help these small shops and businesses facilitate and streamline those processes, thus empowering them to be better informed, more efficient, and more cost-effective.
Telio, the Vietnam-based B2B e-commerce startup, will continue its efforts of on-boarding more family-owned shops and small businesses onto its platform as it seeks to increase nearly five-fold the number of stores and businesses that it serves from the current number of approximately 3,000 to 15,000 by the middle of next year. With support from Tiger Global and other prominent investors, Telio is on the fast track of fulfilling its vision of empowering Vietnam’s substantial number of small mom-and-pop household businesses and retailers.