Since our last funding update on StoreHub in 2018, the Malaysian tech startup which helps Southeast Asian retail and restaurant business owners automate their growth has seen some growth of their own in the past 2 years, going from being in 3,000 stores to over 13,000 stores today.
Previously, StoreHub raised US$5.1 million in a Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures, a Singapore based venture capital fund that has invested in companies like Grab, PatSnap, and Payfazz.
This time, the startup has announced that it’s raised a US$8.9 million Series A+ funding round from Vertex Ventures once again, along with participation from Accord Ventures and a private family office.
In total, this brings StoreHub’s total funding to date to US$15 million.
So, what’s in store for StoreHub? Vulcan Post reached out to its CEO and co-founder, Wai Hong Fong, to learn more about this round and what’s next for the team.
After Laying Foundations, Now Comes The Scaling
The reason behind labelling it a Series A+ is because the bulk of investment came from investors that were already engaged with StoreHub’s series A but couldn’t make the set timeline, Wai Hong explained.
This didn’t stop the investors from pursuing the deal and offering strategic help on top of investment capital, however, and thus StoreHub closed the Series A+ round at a significantly higher valuation than the Series A one.
What they initially did with the Series A funding was use it to lay down foundations for scale.
“With it, we quadrupled the size of the team from 80 to over 320 people and invested heavily into systems, infrastructure and engineering resources,” Wai Hong told us.
The Series A+ is the next phase where StoreHub will leverage these foundations not only to scale the company horizontally (more stores), but to also add value to their services for merchants.
They started off in 2013 as an all-in-one tablet-based Point of Sale (POS) system, but have since expanded their cloud based offering.
“We’ve seen a taste of this in 2019 with the launch of our eCommerce platform, QR Code Table ordering (Beep Order), and automated loyalty management (Beep Cashback),” Wai Hong explained, adding, “We can expect to see more in 2020.”
Growth Comes From Doing The Basic Things Right
As for what kinds of strategies StoreHub used to achieve its growth, Wai Hong simply said that they simply focused on “doing the basic things right”.
One example was investing their time and money not only into hiring more salespeople, but working on building great sales systems too.
“At StoreHub, every interaction is scrutinised using technology to ensure accountability and quality throughout the process. For us, scaling up is really about doing the small things very well,” he said.
Wai Hong then explained:
A simple example would be the speed at which we respond to leads/inquiries. In the past we’ve observed many companies would take a day, 3 days, or even a week to respond, and some would just totally ignore you. At StoreHub, our response times have evolved from 24 hours to 1 hour and today, we respond to leads or inquiries within 5 minutes. These major shifts were challenging, but we’ve found them to be incredibly powerful in scaling growth.Wai Hong Fong, CEO and Co-Founder, StoreHub
And speaking of what challenges that size of upscaling brought on, Wai Hong said that their foundations/systems were being constantly tested and thus often required rebuilding.
“Bringing on new people is always seen as a solution to scaling challenges but new people need time to grow and get better,” he stated.
He also added that as leaders at StoreHub, they were committed to navigating through this ongoing challenge by constantly empowering and challenging each other to do better.
Sticking To Dominating SEA For Now
On their success rate of bridging the online-offline gap for users and their customer retention rate, Wai Hong shared that customers who have successfully implemented an omnichannel strategy through their platform have seen revenue growth of as much as 3x of what they would normally make.
“Our platform is also very sticky—most of our customers who do leave us do so because they are closing down,” he said.
StoreHub is constantly examining the entire chain of what a retail/restaurant business needs to do to succeed, and the team has decided that their next phase will be very focused on closing the customer acquisition and engagement automation loop.
What this means is that they’ll aim to turn a traditionally sophisticated loyalty program into something that will work seamlessly, simply by tapping a few buttons.
“This enables businesses to easily engage with their existing customer base and leverage happy customers to drive new sales to their store,” Wai Hong stated.
With so many global investors looking at the region, Wai Hong believes that the right move for StoreHub currently is to keep a laser focus on the SEA market because, to the team, they’ve just barely scratched the surface of the huge markets they’re in as well.
- You can read more about what we’ve written on StoreHub here.
Featured Image Credit: StoreHub