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Daily Markup #134: Malaysia’s Food Market Hub raises US$4 million Series A; The 500-backed firms…

Banking on food

  • 500-backed Malaysian startup Food Market Hub announced it has successfully raised its Series A funding round of US$4 million from Go-Ventures and SIG.
  • The firm plans to use this funding to “strengthen its market leading position in Malaysia and rapidly expand into Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam”.
  • The cloud-based procurement and inventory management platform is designed for the food and beverage (F&B) industry, connecting F&B outlets directly to suppliers to make it easier to communicate and manage orders.
Credit: Food Market Hub
  • Set up in 2017 by Anthony See and Shayna Teh, the company’s solution automates the purchasing and inventory-tracking process, by connecting F&B outlets with their central kitchens and suppliers. Orders can be placed quickly and easily via the system, or even by email or WhatsApp according to the customers’ preference, allowing restaurants to operate seamlessly and immediately.
  • “A single restaurant may need to process some 200 purchase orders every month. Previously, most of this was done manually, making it tedious as well as prone to human error. And when a restaurant grows or becomes a franchise using a central kitchen, complexity increases exponentially. Having run F&B outlets previously, I know the pain points involved and we set up Food Market Hub to address this problem,” said co-founder Anthony See.
  • Food Market Hub currently supports over 2,000 F&B outlets, which are operating in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and places close to US$200 million in purchase orders through its system on an annual basis. Existing customers include F&B outlets such as Din Tai Fung, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Putien, Paul Lafayet, Arabica and The Drunken Pot.
  • Congratulations, Food Market Hub!

Winning innovations

Credit, clockwise from top left: Tech in Asia, SEPPURE, StartupBRICS, Tech in Asia, The Straits Times, JFDI
  • This year, TechNode Global launched its inaugural ORIGIN Innovation Awards that “aims to provide recognition to companies that have exemplified the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the running of their businesses.”
  • Dr. Gang Lu, founder and CEO of TechNode said: “We are excited and fortunate to be part of the region’s growth. With the launch of ORIGIN Innovation Awards, we seek to recognize the brightest and outstanding ones in Asia across fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, food and agri, fintech, supply chain and new retail, and e-commerce, among others.”
  • 500-backed companies that took home awards were:

Indonesia’s AI chatbot platform Kata.ai — ‘Artificial Intelligence Startup’

Parcel tracking platform Parcel Perform — ‘Logistics & LMF Startup’

Healthcare solutions providers mClinica and Vault Dragon — ‘HealthTech Startup’

  • mClinica was also recognized with a ‘Resilience Award’ which acknowledges companies and solutions that have proven capable of fighting the pandemic.
  • Under the ‘Movers and Shakers’ category, awards were given to individuals who have shown “great leadership, dedicated themselves to the startup community, and given back by mentoring and serving as a resource in a peer-to-peer environment.” 500-backed founders who were honored were:

Mohammad Farahani (SEPPURE) — one of the ‘Founders of the Year’

Val Yap (Policy Pal) — one of the ‘Promising Female Founders’, which celebrates “the digital advancement and business acumen of female leaders in the APAC region, and advocate for women forging ahead in innovation.”

Curlec — ‘Fintech Startup’

Haulio — ‘Logistics and LMF Startup’

Glints — ‘EduTech Startup’

  • Congratulations on the awards and recognition, founders!

A successful sales day

Credit: Singapore Promotions
  • This was also its first 11.11 sale to feature exclusive brand deals, offering a total of 8,260 deals to its users and a 325% increase in conversion rate.
  • Pomelo achieved 30X orders and gained 48X new customers, with close to 90% of the traffic coming in from mobile platforms (iOS and Android).
  • Retail stores also saw 3X increase in traffic and 30X increase in ‘Tap, Try, Buy’ orders.
  • The ‘Tap, Try, Buy’ feature is part of Pomelo’s omnichannel strategy, whereby users order items online through the app or website, select a store or partner location to try on their selected items, and pay for only what they choose to keep. “Users can explore a variety of fashion products online but can touch, feel and try products offline,” Pomelo chief executive and co-founder David Jou told the Bangkok Post.
  • An analysis of sales by regional markets showed that Malaysia took the lead with 48X more than usual orders, followed by Indonesia with 28X, Thailand with 18X, and Singapore with 16X.

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500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. In Southeast Asia, 500 Startups invests through the pioneering 500 Southeast Asia family of funds. The 500 Southeast Asia funds have backed over 240 companies across multiple sectors from internet to consumer to deep technology. It continues to connect founders with capital, expertise and powerful regional and global networks to help them succeed.

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500 Southeast Asia Team