Lifestyle

HappyFresh closes in M’sia, its sponsorship and expansion history

Over the past seven years, grocery delivery service HappyFresh has had a tumultuous journey, which has come to an end in Malaysia.

Its rise and eventual demise have been documented through many articles. But to save you time filling out the company’s past profile, we’ve compiled a list of HappyFresh’s memorable chapters in Malaysia, organized by a linear narrative.

The birth of a company

HappyFresh was founded in October 2014, modeling itself after Y Combinator’s Instacart, which was founded in California two years earlier.

This Indonesia-based company has seven co-founders, each of whom are seasoned tech players in their own right.

HappyFresh’s original CEO, CTO and COO / Image Credit: HappyFresh

CEO Markus Bihler has many years of experience as a private equity investor and served as CEO of European company Tirendo.

Benjamin Koellmann was COO at Lazada group before taking up the same position at HappyFresh.

CTO Fajar Budiprasetyo had a stint at Yahoo! and co-founded two other companies before HappyFresh.

Dr. Konstantin Lange served as CFO, with previous experience in the Boston Consulting Group and a PhD in Finance.

Before becoming CCO at HappyFresh, Kai Kux was COO at iMoney Group. Founding investor and executive chairman Tim Marbach has invested in many other companies, while Monk’s Hill Venture’s Stefan Jung serves as an advisor.

It’s officially started

On March 10, 2015, HappyFresh officially launched after a month or so as an invite-only platform.

HappyFresh is reported to have an undisclosed “one million dollar pre-round A funding” (seven-digit figure).

Despite being based in Indonesia, it appears the app has actually started its services in Malaysia first, according to an article by Tech in Asia.

Series A round & regional expansion

In September 2015, HappyFresh raised US$12 million in its Series A round. Led by Vertex Ventures and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures, it also included participation from Asia Venture Group, BEENEXT, Ardent Capital, 500 Startups (now 500 Global) and Cherry Ventures.

According to a later press release, the on-demand grocery delivery app has successfully expanded to Thailand and Taiwan.

In March 2016, it also made its debut in the Philippines.

Image credit: HappyFresh

Series B & exit Philippines & Taiwan

While announcing the Series B funding round, HappyFresh simultaneously withdrew from Taiwan and the Philippines.

The amount raised for HappyFresh’s Series B Round was not disclosed, but its CEO reported that the amount was higher than its Series A round.

It was Monday (August 29, 2016) when the airline announced it was leaving Taiwan and the Philippines to focus on Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

According to Techcrunch, the news came three days earlier on Friday with a team of nearly 1,000 employees.

Image credit: HappyFresh

Tough times and change for CEOs

In January 2017, it was reported that the CEO of HappyFresh had changed. However, according to LinkedIn, the change from Markus Bilher to Guillem Segarra actually happened in November 2016.

An article by Tech in Asia states that “2016 and 2017 were the hardest years for the company.” This phase sees HappyFresh “return to the drawing board” to focus on unit economics, logistics and new business units.

According to the article, these measures have allowed HappyFresh to start seeing positive margins.

Revival with Series C

Perhaps thanks to the aforementioned changes, HappyFresh took a step for the better in 2019, raising US$20 million for Series C.

The round was led by the Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund, with participation from Line Ventures, Singha Ventures and even Grab Ventures (Grab’s investment arm).

Returning investors include Vertex Ventures, Sinar Mas Digital Ventures, 500 Startups and BeeNext.

grab
Three people in the center from left to right: Guillem Segarra, CEO of HappyFresh; Anthony Tan, Group CEO & Co-Founder, Grab; Jerald Singh, Product Manager of Grab (and GrabFresh delivery partners and shoppers) / Image credit: Grab

According to TechCrunch, the new funds will be used by HappyFresh to “double down on technology,” which can increase customer personalization and provide more efficient logistics.

Pandemic breakthrough & upward growth

As we all know, 2020 is the year of the coronavirus, where everyone is stuck in their own homes. It was a difficult time, one that saw “unstable traffic” on the HappyFresh platform, according to Tech in Asia.

“HappyFresh experienced 10x to 20x growth across the three countries in which it operates when it noticed a change in customer behavior towards online groceries,” reads the Tech article. in Asia from 2020.

In those times of crisis, HappyFresh has become a lifeline for Malaysians, Thais and Indonesians.

Expand to have your own supermarket

Earlier this year, in July 2022, HappyFresh officially launched its cloud warehouse line in Malaysia, named HappyFresh Supermarket.

In an interview with Vulcan Post, the company’s chief growth officer, Johan Antlov, shared that the move was for them to build their own path and have end-to-end control over the entire HappyFresh experience. .

Temporarily stop working

That experience came to a standstill on September 8, 2022. The HappyFresh app suddenly posted a post saying that all stores on its platform would be temporarily closed.

This follows an article from Bloomberg that HappyFresh is having some financial problems, allegedly hiring turnaround firm Alvarez and Marsal to look into its accounts.

According to the Bloomberg article, the Jakarta-based company has debt of at least $97 million (approximately RM377 million) and some of the company’s senior executives allegedly stopped handling the transactions. their daily duties.

HappyFresh Malaysia’s automated response on Facebook at the time shared that the company was taking organizational and strategic restrictions to ensure business continuity.

It also shared that HappyFresh’s business will be temporarily halted until the company reaches a definitive and sustainable solution.

A brief comeback

On September 9, Vulcan Post learned that the app was quietly working again, at least for that day.

However, the only supplier open for delivery is HappyFresh Supermarket, and even then, not all warehouse locations are available.

The Vulcan Post team was able to order from the Bangsar location. When asked, the HappyFresh rider who arrived said he wasn’t sure if service would resume next week.

A sponsored win

Amid financial struggles and a board reshuffle, HappyFresh has managed to secure undisclosed funding from investors. Announced on September 21, this allows the company to continue operating in Indonesia.

However, things remain uncertain for the company’s operations in Thailand and Malaysia, with Bloomberg reporting that the company is “considering options”.

Bow out of Malaysia and Thailand

Finally, HappyFresh officially announced its withdrawal from Malaysia and Thailand on September 22. The announcement was made through the company’s social media accounts from the two regions.

A Facebook post from HappyFresh Malaysia reads: “It is with a heavy heart that this message will be our last to you.

Image credit: HappyFresh

Thanking its customers for the past seven years, HappyFresh cited current economic conditions as why it has “no choice but to cease operations, effective immediately”.

– // –

The official withdrawal of HappyFresh from Malaysia could be a signal that demand for grocery delivery services is dwindling when the country is in the midst of an epidemic.

However, Malaysians who are relying on HappyFresh still have many other alternatives, some of which we have covered in another article.

With all of HappyFresh’s original founders having moved on to other companies long ago, it seems likely that their customers – at least in Malaysia and Thailand – should be too.

  • Read more articles we wrote about HappyFresh here.

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