WhyQ, a hawker food delivery startup active in Malaysia and Singapore, has secured an additional RM4.6 million (S$1.4 million) in an extension to their Series A2 funding round. The round was led by the Kairos FoodTech Fund of Kairos Capital Group, according to a January 26 press release.
The startup’s initial Series A2 round of RM11.8 million (S$3.6 million) closed in 2021, led by Delivery Hero, Chope, Angel Central, and RB Investments.
Established in 2017 as a hawker food delivery service, WhyQ will be using the funds to expand its digitalisation platform that helps build digital infrastructures for MSMEs.
“SMEs are the economic backbone of Southeast Asia, accounting for more than 90% of all companies and are the primary drivers of social mobility,” said Eric Cheong, the co-founder and managing partner of Kairos Capital Group.
However, these SMEs often struggle to find products that cater to their specific needs.
Thus, WhyQ’s role is to help those SMEs, which often face barriers to adopting newer technology. The startup currently supports over 20,000 small businesses in Singapore and Malaysia with its solutions.
According to the team, Malaysia now constitutes over 75% of WhyQ’s merchant base.
“Leveraging on our experience partnering with small-scale F&B owner-operators like hawkers, we would like to extend our expertise to now help small business owners in Malaysia to digitalise properly, with simple and free products,” said Varun Saraf, the CEO and co-founder of WhyQ.
To cater the products to Malaysian users, WhyQ has localised the language and worked with strategic partners such as FoodPanda to create awareness and provide the best rates rates for its merchants.
Based in Singapore, WhyQ has its start as a hawker-first digital ecosystem that provides a solid platform for hawkers to deliver cooked food, order wholesale raw-material supplies, and integrate with POS systems.
However, its delivery services have not yet made their way to Malaysia.
Its WhyQ eBiz app is a product that has been developed from their expertise with such services. A one-stop solution app, it enables MSMEs to create their own personalised e-store links, sharing them across their social media platforms and ultimately managing orders within the app.
Through the app, businesses can also connect with popular marketplaces like foodpanda, accept online payments, and connect with logistics services like Lalamove.
The digital bookkeeping app, Kira Kira, on the other hand, allows small businesses to track their daily transactions, manage their accounts, and apply for low-interest loans from partners such as Funding Societies.
Cue the growth
In 2023, WhyQ plans to add more features to its eBiz app, such as customisable templates for online storefronts and integrations with popular ecommerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada.
According to the press release, the startup also plans to partner with more logistics providers and payment gateways, giving small businesses more options for fulfilling orders and accepting payments.
Additionally, WhyQ also plans to enhance its digital bookkeeping app with features such as automatic sales and expense categorisations, inventory management, and bill payments. Meanwhile, it also aims to expand its network of lending partners.
“Everything we do at WhyQ, from product functionality to design—from physical or digital merchant acquisition to pricing—keeps SMEs at the forefront,” said WhyQ’s co-founders, Varun Saraf and Rishabh Singhvi.
“Our focus is on Malaysia for 2023, and our research suggests similar issues exist with small businesses in most countries in the region.”
Editor’s Update [09/03/23, 4PM]: Parts of this article have been edited to provide more information on the funding.
Featured Image Credit: The team at WhyQ