honestbee was one of Singapore’s first grocery delivery startups and theirs was a startup story of rapid growth and success.
Starting out in late 2015, the team quickly saw expansion into multiple Southeast Asian countries such as Taiwan and Japan, along with an upgrade into a spanking new office. They also managed to raise a $15 Million in Series A funding late 2015.
Starting off as a grocery delivery service as well as a creator of new jobs, honestbee has since added on-demand laundry services and today, they announced a new service arm – food delivery.
No Longer Just Raw Ingredients
Their entrance into the food delivery scene will see them going head to head with more established delivery startups like foodpanda and Grain. Nonetheless, staking out their competitive advantage may not be an altogether impossible job.
Unlike other grocery delivery startups like Redmart, honestbee does not keep its own inventory, meaning that shopper bees will be trawling local supermarkets. This also puts them in a convenient position to pick up food as supermarkets and eateries are typically located close to one another.
For the launch, honestbee will be focusing its delivery within the Central Business District, Bukit Merah, as well as River Valley. Whether or not they will be expanding into more areas in the future is a question yet to be answered.
From Job Provider To Logistics?
Originally focusing on providing jobs and groceries, honestbee seems to be headed in the direction of a “mega app“. This refers to platforms that offer a wide variety of services such as what WeChat does. On top of grocery shopping and getting your laundry done, now you can get your food delivered to you.
Alongside the laundry service arm, the food delivery service they are rolling out also seems to imply the team is starting to optimise for a “logistics” side of the business.
For honestbee, there are two parts: the supply of job seekers looking to run errands (by doing your grocery shopping for you), as well as the delivery side. This comes in when drivers pick up groceries to be sent to customers.
Although not confirmed, this shift would be a logical one.
It makes sense here for the team to optimise for more items to be delivered to more customers, as well as to optimise delivery routes.
In addition, the local logistics industry has a veritable potential for growth as the current, and future, powerhouse source of revenue and jobs. Coupled with the rise of e-commerce, the sector is only set for growth as startups such as Ezyhaul jump onto the bandwagon.
How Will honestbee Fare?
In line with the logistics industry, the importance lies in the team’s ability to optimise delivery routes. When they are able to complete transactions more efficiently, it becomes a crucial competitive advantage to capture loyal and returning customers.
Perhaps honestbee already has one foot on success when it comes to finding buyers for ready-made meals.
By tapping onto existing customers and value-adding grocery purchases and laundry orders with cooked meals, honestbee might not have to buzz around too much to look for external customers.
With the new focus on food delivery, it could be that honestbee is also looking to get more revenue out of their existing customers. This would answer the question, “how do I get more dollar value from existing customers and provide them with more value at the same time?”
However, managing the new delivery chains while still catering to delivery deadlines might take everything they have.
The reality is that the profit margin from food deliveries isn’t high. At the end of the day, the payoff from branching out into food delivery in this competitive scene might not be worth it.
A Future Of Funding
According to crunchbase, honestbee’s only funding came in a Series A in October 2015 where it raised a staggering $15million from investors like YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and ex-Facebook CFO Gideon Yu.
This sets the stage for perhaps an upcoming funding round, and the laundry and food delivery sectors are set to become bastions to represent how the startup is developing itself.
At this point of time, not much is clear about the potential success of honestbee’s food delivery services but it will certainly something to look out for.
We have reached out to honestbee for more details.
Featured Image Credit: littlestepsasia