Touchstone Partners leads $1.1 million seed funding in social commerce startup ON

January 12, 2022 | 10:00
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ON, one of Vietnam’s fastest-growing social commerce platforms, today announced that it has successfully raised $1.1 million in seed funding from a group of investors led by Touchstone Partners and the participation of ThinkZone Ventures.

Starting an online business has become one of many options for many Vietnamese as they seek ways to earn money. But there are barriers to entry, such as dealing with suppliers for attractive commissions and not having the funds to invest in inventory.

ON, a pioneering social commerce platform, makes it simpler for sellers by providing an end-to-end solution that handles orders, fulfilment, returns, shipping, and transactions, empowering everyone to become an entrepreneur. With ON, sellers simply use social media channels to market an item and earn a commission. The rest is handled by ON.

Touchstone Partners leads $1.1 million seed funding in social commerce startup ON
Touchstone Partners leads $1.1 million seed funding in social commerce startup ON

ON was founded by Giang Nguyen, a former tech lead at FPT and a seasoned entrepreneur who previously built a community of over one million online sellers and shippers. With his experience, Giang realised to better leverage this expansive network by serving Vietnam’s ever-expanding social commerce segment.

Along with Dzung Luu, who previously led the operation at Be, one of the biggest ride-hailing platforms in Vietnam, and Minh Nguyen, former CFO of Logivan, Giang saw the potential of social commerce in tier 2-3 cities and rural areas.

Approximately 92 per cent of households in rural areas now have smartphones and access to the internet, and 72 per cent engage in online shopping on Facebook or other social media. Digital penetration is strong in these regions, but technology innovations lag behind. This is a huge untapped market that ON intends to explore.

Vietnamese consumers have been quickly moving to online commerce, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. A recent report from Facebook and Bain & Company said that the country would be the fastest-growing e-commerce in Southeast Asia by 2026, with an estimated gross merchandise value of $56 billion, up from $11.8 billion in 2020.

While these figures are impressive, at present e-commerce comprises just 5.5 per cent of retail sales in Vietnam.

Since its official launch last March, ON has attracted more than 10,000 sellers, of which 90 per cent are women. The majority of sellers live in small cities or in rural areas. Each seller can earn up to $300 each month by selling items with ON.

Giang Nguyen, co-founder and CEO commented, “Social commerce is still in an early stage in Vietnam, but we believe that it is poised to gain enormous traction in the coming years. We want to build a sustainable business where sellers can actually sell and earn income with us, and therefore, one of the key areas to focus on is product quality. We also invest extensively in technology, to address challenges in sourcing products, streamlining operations, and delivery. Our vision is to become a single ecosystem that will empower every online seller in Vietnam. The fresh funding of this round will be spent on expanding our presence and developing solutions to further serve the needs of our sellers in terms of management, delivery, and capital so that they can scale the business with us.”

Giang continued, “We’re pleased to welcome Touchstone Partners and ThinkZone Ventures as investors. They understand our vision and how we intend to realise it. They share our excitement for the growth potential this market holds. We’re confident that their capital, as well as their experience and networks, will help take ON to its next stage of development."

Khanh Tran, managing partner of Touchstone Partners commented, “With e-commerce set to see robust growth in Vietnam, we believe social commerce – and particularly ON’s solution for empowering more people to successfully engage in it – has enormous potential. This is a very local business, and ON’s founders have the local market experience and expertise to play a significant role in driving its growth. We look forward to working with Giang and his team, who have a track record of successfully launching businesses and executing business plans as well as a commitment to building and operating their business with integrity.”


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