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Startups

South Korea's Smilegate leads funding round for Vietnam's Sapo

Multichannel sales startup looks to grow Southeast Asian operations

Sapo is involved in a number of payment services, including those for restaurants.   © Reuters

HANOI -- Vietnam-based sales and management platform Sapo Technology has closed a Series A funding round led by South Korean investor Smilegate Investment, according to a Sapo executive.

Vietnam's homegrown venture capital Teko Ventures, which already has a stake in the startup, also participated in the latest round, said Sapo CEO Tran Trong Tuyen. He did not reveal the dollar amount but said it was seven figures.

Established in 2008, Sapo -- formerly known as DKT Technology -- has over 67,000 customers for its multichannel e-commerce management tool. The tool merges the functions of its e-commerce website tool Bizweb and Sapo sales management software.

Sapo's other products include Sapo GO, a 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 operations in 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 are confidently invested in Sapo," said Kyoung-hwan Kim, vice president of Smilegate Investment, reasoning that the company put up money in similar company in South Korea that returned 150%.

Smilegate Investment is the 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 bringing aboard Teko Ventures as a backer in 2018.

Teko 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.

For the original story from DealStreetAsia, click here.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on corporate investment activity in Southeast Asia and India. Nikkei recently announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the company.

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