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Honestbee secures $15m for Asian expansion

Oct 23, 2015


Honestbee, Singapore’s fast-growing, on-demand grocery concierge and delivery service has raised first round funding of US$15 million.

And behind the cash are some seriously experienced eCommerce and online business experts, including:

  • Pejman Mar Ventures, early investors in Dropbox, Lending Club and DoorDash.
  • Gideon Yu, former CFO of Facebook and YouTube; co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Owen T Van Natta, founding team of Amazon search company A9.com and former COO of Facebook.
  • Steve Chen, Google Ventures advisor, as well as co-founder and former CTO of YouTube.

Honestbee partners with supermarkets and specialty stores such as NTUC FairPrice, the Pet Lovers Center, and gourmet boutiques and specialty stores, Gastronomia Da Paolo, Mmmm!, The Butcher’s Dog, Crystal Wines, GNC and Four Seasons Organic, in Singapore. This enables these traditional grocery companies to significantly increase their revenue through Honestbee’s on-demand eCommerce platform where they fulfil customers’ orders in as little time as within the next hour.

“We are very excited and blessed to have been able to attract support from some of the most successful entrepreneurs and investors with unparalleled track records in the world,” said Honestbee co-founder, Isaac Tay.

“Honestbee will benefit tremendously, as we now have immediate access to the top minds who have built the most valuable technology companies in the world today, such as Amazon, YouTube, Google, Square, Dropbox, DoorDash and Palantir.

“We started with a mission to create a highly elastic and trained workforce that would bring invaluable convenience to our customers through our concierge and delivery services. Most people in Asia are time-starved due to the demands of their job and a large proportion of the population do not possess their own vehicles. With our on-demand delivery service, time-crunched customers can enjoy the widest choices from their favourite stores, even at the last minute, when they shop through Honestbee,” he said.

Formation 8, which led the funding round, believes the ‘hyper-local on-demand market’ plays a significant role in the way commerce will evolve.

“Given the increasing population density across all the key cities in Asia due to job and wealth creation, this is right time and opportunity,” said Formation 8 founder, Brian Koo.

“Consumers now demand higher levels of access to convenience. With Honestbee’s superior partnership network and its strong focus on building a world class technology company, they will be well-positioned to quickly own this market.”

Honestbee has expanded its team to almost 100 people in just eight months, and continues to scout the best talent from around the world. With aggressive plans to expand across Asia, Honestbee expects to be in at least six other Tier 1 cities by June 2016.

Last week, Honestbee launched in Hong Kong, offering a one-stop shop for a range of products to meet the needs of busy customers.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, the online grocery shopping market in Asia is currently estimated at US$18 billion with online carts typically being 1.8 times larger than store-based retail at checkout.

The willingness to use digital retailing options in the future is highest in the developing markets, with Asia Pacific at 60 per cent in a recent Nielsen report, signaling the great potential for growth in online grocery delivery services in the region.

“In light of the potential, however, this space is under-penetrated, with intended providers facing challengers in both services and delivery,” said Tay.

Honestbee’s solution to these challenges – a model that has proven successful in this sharing economy – is to use someone else’s spare time to shop and deliver groceries, thus freeing up customers to spend their time doing more of what they enjoy.

“With a crowdsourced workforce, orders are fulfilled by concierge shoppers who shop at top supermarkets and boutiques stores, and a delivery team which brings the orders to customers’ homes, all within-the-next-hour golden time slots of choice. This eliminates the cost of infrastructure building, such as the need for warehousing, additional manpower and equipment. In return, honestbee brings increased efficiency and convenience to customers, as well as improved margins for partners.”

Source: insideretail.asia

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