Cambodian startup, Tenbox, which operates an online wholesale grocery platform for retail stores, has secured its first seed funding from early-stage venture capital (VC) firm, Choice Accelerator.
The undisclosed seed funding will enable Tenbox to scale up its services to make a greater impact on Cambodia’s small- and medium-enterprise (SME) ecosystem, in particular those in retail stores and restaurants.
Since its launch in 2021, Tenbox has been serving hundreds of F&B businesses, ranging from restaurants, small- and medium-sized coffee shops, marts, and mom-and-pop stores across the nation. The company has accumulated 85,000 online visitors and a customer return rate of 70 percent of its total orders.
After closing the deal with the VC, Reasmey Daneth, CEO and co-founder of Tenbox, told Kiripost this week, “Investment from Choice Accelerator is our first critical strategic investment with the right resource and vision to help us scale bigger.”
Tenbox plans to use the financial resources to build and enhance its digital products and services, enlarge its product range, strengthen its team, and expand its delivery footprint to provinces nationwide.
The move forms part of her company's mission to create one ecosystem for suppliers and merchants, building a digital platform that enables them to connect for an efficient buying-selling process and accurate supply-demand projection.
Jennifer Lin, Choice Accelerator CEO, told Kiripost today that the startup co-founders and the business model are among the key reasons her VC chose to invest in the startup.
“The two founders Daneth and Sokmey impressed me every time I met them. They have very clear plans regarding how they want to develop the business and what milestones they want to achieve,” said Lin.
She added, “They also provide very reasonable estimations regarding how exactly they can execute those plans, and with what kind of resources. If the plans cannot be rolled out accordingly, they have also designed alternatives to make sure the progress of their business is still on track.”
The VC investor also stressed that Tenbox’s business model, “Also makes sense for Choice Accelerator, and we identify many potentials once the business grows with scale. Currently the procurement process for both the retailers and the suppliers is not efficient. The market is waiting for a solution but no one is filling the gap yet.”
Despite the startup’s founding team and business model, Lin also admitted, “It is indeed very risky to invest in a startup at such an early stage.” She claims that Choice Accelerator has been investing in early-stage startups globally for several years, so the VC has developed in-house know-how to identify those with the potential to further elevate themselves.
“By working closely with the founding team, hopefully we can effectively help Tenbox to develop more efficiently and thus decrease the level of risk of this early stage investment,” Lin noted.
Founded during the pandemic as the country was in lock-down, Tenbox was created by two co-founders who had struggled to source products for their own F&B store.
“The idea began when my co-founder and I had our first startup experience as a food store owner about eight years ago. As a store owner during that time, we had a hard time finding products for our store from different suppliers and we had to make calls to different people, waiting for orders and we did not know when the product would be delivered,” said Daneth.
In Cambodia's bustling economy, new player Tenbox has emerged to address a growing concern for suppliers and retailers alike. The early-stage startup has received a warm welcome from suppliers who recognize the need for technological support to keep up with the demand of retailers.
As the country experiences a surge in demand for quality labor, the importance of embracing digital solutions has become increasingly apparent. Tenbox aims to provide that support, working closely with suppliers and distributors as well as other ecosystem players like credit providers to create an attractive environment for retailers to join and use the platform.
“Tenbox is also looking for more investment to move faster and make a greater impact on a bigger scale,” Tenbox CEO told Kiripost.
In February, Choice Accelerator and BCC Group jointly invested $275,000 in the latest pre-seed fundraising round of Cambodian edtech startup, Sala.