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

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 operationsin 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.