Singapore headquartered online grocery store Honestbee appears to be facing some challenges.
The company announced the temporary closure of its Philippines operations due to funding constraints last Friday, according to Filipino online tech media YugaTech. News of layoffs across a number of Honestbee’s offices was also reported by tech news portals Tech in Asia and Vulcan Post.
The company’s spokesperson has confirmed with KrASIA that some roles within the organization have been cut and approximately 6% of Honestbee’s overall headcount would be affected. The company’s food delivery verticals in Hong Kong and Thailand will also be suspended for the time being. Honestbee is currently undergoing a strategic review of its business where it looks to simplify what it needs to do to better meet what consumers wants, said the spokesperson.
Honestbee has been experimenting with innovative approaches to retail in Singapore. Its high-tech supermarket Habitat was voted as one of the must-see global retail innovations of the year. It got the regulatory go-ahead to test out newer online-offline retail concepts in Singapore in February.
But at a regional scale, competition for Honestbee has been stiff. Multi-purpose apps Grab and Go-Jek are dominant in the food delivery space and benefit from the added efficiency of having an on-demand motorcycle taxi fleet in many Southeast Asian cities.
Groceries, Honestbee’s core business, is also challenged by competitors like HappyFresh, which announced a USD 20 million Series C round this week and works with Grab. HappyFresh today serves Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It is planning to further its city expansion plans with the new funding.
But Honestbee has also been successful at raising funds. According to Crunchbase, it took in a total of USD 46 million in venture funding so far.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad