Our guest for Episode 17 is Kartick Narayan, Founder and CEO of Kilo, one of Vietnam’s fastest-growing startups. Kartick spent most of his career in the US, lived in South Korea for three years, and is now based in Ho Chi Minh City.
Kartick founded Kilo on the principle that technology can affect change in traditional and deeply entrenched sectors such as offline retail stores, Kilo is all about addressing retailer and brand pain points and solving them at scale.
The vision of Kilo is to connect the six different parties in the retail landscape - shoppers, brands, retailers, distributors and wholesalers, lending institutions, and logistics providers -- under a single, easy-to-access platform.
In this episode, Kartick Narayan shares his one-year journey with Kilo, the challenges, and the success. This may be his first founding experience but Kartick brings with him a wealth of experience in e-commerce giants Amazon, Groupon, Coupang, and most recently Tiki as Chief Business Officer. And he intends to implement some of the learnings he had at the companies he worked with before to solve larger problems, provide larger opportunities, and eventually improve the retail landscape as a whole.
How Kilo works
In the past year, Kilo has built a marketplace platform to connect wholesalers and distributors with retailers by introducing solid solutions to the major challenges in Vietnam’s traditional retail ecosystem: inconsistent pricing, time-consuming procurement, and unpredictable inventory management. At Kilo, small and medium-sized store owners now have a one-stop-shop where they can come in, build a basket, get transparency into pricing, assortment, and availability, without having to take any inventory risk or having to compete with one another.
For the first half of 2021, Kilo’s focus is on strengthening its marketplace product. As for the second half, the tech startup will hire at least 10 engineers to work on ways for sellers to hyper-target promotions to retailers. Beyond that are a few experimental things the team will work on.
Kartick believes these goals can be achieved, with a new undisclosed seed funding the start-up got from US-based Goodwater Capital, Singapore’s January Capital, 500 Startups Vietnam, 500 Fintech, and other angel investors. “We just raised a seed round, pretty proud of where we end up. I anticipate that we will soon be ready for a Series A,” Kartick said.
With the investors and more coming in the coming months, Kartick sees Kilo going fast and far in reshaping Vietnam’s retail landscape and creating a better experience for both entrepreneurs and consumers.