HANOI -- Alibaba's eWTP Technology and Innovation Fund has made an undisclosed investment in the Vietnamese food chain Homefarm, DealStreetAsia has learnt.
The investment is a "seven-digit figure," according to the Vietnamese company's CEO Tran Van Truong.
Founded in 2014 by Van Truong and his partners, Homefarm is a chain of stores selling imported food in Vietnam, combining modern shopping channels, online sales and home delivery options.
"The proceeds of the funding round will be used to develop and expand our chain of stores with a target to reach 1,000 stores by 2025," said Van Truong, who is CEO of the company. As of July 2021, Homefarm operated 150 stores in Vietnam.
In addition to the existing sales channels, Homefarm will continue to distribute goods on e-commerce platforms to reach more customers. With this investment, Homefarm will quickly get into digital transformation, as well as accessing and developing modern sales methods, he added.
The company is due to make an official announcement on the funding.
The latest funding was through ReDefine Capital Fund, a Singapore-registered investment entity controlled by eWTP.
Alibaba's eWTP Technology and Innovation Fund is a $600 million fund that was set up in 2018 with Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba and Ant Group as cornerstone investors. It aims to tap into startup opportunities in emerging markets as well as Chinese startups that target emerging markets.
Recently, DealStreetAsia reported that eWTP had re-upped in the Vietnamese retail company Ficus Asia Investment by investing $10 million. The eWTP Fund had invested $50 million into Ficus last year.
In July, eWTP invested $2 million in a Series A funding round in Vietnam-based Educa Corporation, which operates the edtech startup Edupia.
The eWTP Fund has also invested in the online-to-offline marketplace KKGroup and Chinese fintech firm XTransfer, logistics startup Flash Express (Thailand) and the Indian foodtech firm Box8.
Vietnam's food and beverage sector has witnessed a spate of deals lately. In July, the foodtech startup KAMEREO raised $4.6 million co-led by Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand's CPF Group, Quest Ventures and Genesia Ventures.
Vietnam is one of the largest food production hubs in Southeast Asia, according to Goh Yiping, partner of Quest Ventures. "There is much room to grow in solving many of the inefficiencies of the supply chain today, improving farmers' livelihood outcomes and procuring the best products for businesses and homes," he said.
In 2020, Vietnam-based e-commerce startup Foodmap raised $500,000 in a seed funding round from Wavemaker Partners.
The retail sales of food products have consistently been increasing over the past few years and are forecast to cross $66 billion by 2023, according to Statista.com.
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DealStreetAsia a is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on private equity, venture capital and corporate investment activity in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, India and greater China. Nikkei owns a majority stake in the company.