Taembe.com (Vietnamese for Diaper.com), an online baby retailer and marketplace for moms to buy second-hand items, has just closed a US$228,000 seed round from Swiss Founders Fund. Binh Tran, the ex-CTO and Co-founder of Klout; and Eddie Thai, a local startup advisor, also participated in the deal.
According to CEO Don Phan, Taembe will be using the cash for technology, inventory and logistics with a mobile app on the way. He told e27 that his startup has always been super lean and believes in “investing in tech and automation as a way to keep costs low.”
As the first Vietnamese startup to graduate from JFDI.Asia’s accelerator program, Taembe reports in a release that their revenue is growing 20 per cent month-over-month in 2015. Although the Taembe team is based outside of Singapore and the JFDI program was attended remotely, Phan said that they actually spent a lot of time on-site at the accelerator in order to tap into resources.
“The mentorship was great and exposure to Singapore venture capital firms were very helpful. Introductions from JFDI helped us get VC meetings we otherwise wouldn’t have gotten,” said Phan. “Vietnam is a great market, but there aren’t many early stage venture capital firms here.”
While ex-Rocketeer Phan was previously in the post of Co-founder and Managing Director for both Zalora and foodpanda Vietnam, CTO Jason Smith used to be the back-end developer for Grindr and has also exited his node.js startup IrisCouch before joining Taembe.
As we’re often a product of our past gigs, both Smith said that Grindr taught him about “usability and how to manage the tech problems that accompany rapid scaling,” while Phan picked up team building and product experience.
“Zalora taught me how to put together a team and gave me my first experience in e-commerce… foodpanda was a great experience for managing a marketplace business model — we’re [now] expanding into a marketplace for baby products,” said Phan.
Besides their time at big tech companies, Phan and Smith are very much in sync as they’ve both recently become first-time fathers (bundles of joy pictured below) — which further equips them as they are now active consumers in the baby market. “Our wives are a major source of product feedback — it’s fulfilling creating a product that my wife will use,” said Smith.
Phan adds on, “We have more experience buying baby products for our own kids, which helps a lot. We already sell baby products other than diapers — those decisions were all driven by our own experiences as first-time fathers.”
Although Smith is based in Bangkok with his young family, he splits his time between the Thai capital and Saigon as the development team is dispersed between the two cities.