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The CEO Of StoreHub Shares Their Next Move After Securing US$5.1 Million In Funding

If you’ve been to a store that uses an iPad as a cashier system, then you’ve probably indirectly used a StoreHub service—a Malaysian POS startup that provides a cloud-based system for retail SMEs like retailers, boutiques, grocery stores and cafes to manage their business. StoreHub offers inventory management, customer relationship management and the aforementioned iPad POS system—all for US$39/month (RM152.04/month). After expanding to 15 countries and 3,000 retail stores, StoreHub now sees a US$5.1 million (RM19.9 million) Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures.

Vertex Ventures is a subsidiary of Temasek Capital, a national wealth fund owned by the Government of Singapore.

Vertex Ventures was an early investor for tech giants like Grab, Reebonz, and Patsnap. They are joined by Cradle Seed Ventures, Accord Ventures, and Fintonia Group. We reached out to Fong Wai Hong, Chieftain of StoreHub about the investors that are now on board. “Vertex, its such a strong brand and really well-connected. They’re one of the grandfathers of venture capitalists in the region, they’ve been around for 20 years. They’ve invested in Grab, and they’ve got such strong LP’s everywhere and so for us to have them is really exciting,” said Wai Hong. Wai Hong was also keen on Vertex’s connections, that are said to be more “old-school” than the typical tech startup connections. One of the key elements StoreHub looked at in investors were their relationships, particularly ones “that would enable us to leverage these connections to grow our presence in terms of the number of stores, but also potentially the more lateral play.” More than just scaling up, the team considered how to monetise on the stores they already have—would these connections offer alternative streams of income, or if they would be able to value-add to StoreHub’s existing customer base.

Here’s where the money is headed.

StoreHub’s POS system / Image Credit: StoreHub
StoreHub will be looking to tackle a big problem that their users face—bridging their online-offline gap. “These are the areas that our customers have been asking for help for a very long time. There’s just so much noise out there, it’s really hard for a small little uncle running a store to really figure that out.” “So that’s something, especially with this funding, to really scale our product team and really think hard and build solidly the kind of value that we believe would really help these guys,” said Wai Hong.

Validating their business in a massively competitive space.

When StoreHub started in 2013, everyone said the same thing to them: ‘Oh, it’s a very competitive space, and so many guys are doing it.’ So they put their heads to the ground and focused on scaling. “While other startups might have been building tech, or be building other cool stuff, we’ve kind of put our heads to the ground.” “We focused on customer acquisition and really scaling that up, really watching our ROI, really watching our bottom line and making sure we’re scaling it sustainably as well, not just indiscriminately burning cash.” Wai Hong thinks that this is perhaps something that their investors noted in their business—the numbers.
“In our particular area of focus, we didn’t start out with deep tech. We’re not doing VR, we’re not doing AI, we’re not doing Blockchain. But the idea becomes incredibly exciting because it’s a data player.”
“We store a ridiculous amount of data that gives us visibility, but that data is useless when you’re small. And so the real value is delivered when StoreHub actually scales up in a large way,” said Wai Hong. As a startup with an intention to help SMEs thrive in an evolving ecosystem, there is something noble about trying to help them achieve an online presence as well. Obviously, there is money in it, but perhaps StoreHub can identify with their userbase—they may not be the most technologically advanced, but they deserve a spot in today’s  marketplace too.
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Feature Image Credit: WOBB