Asia Pacific grocery supply startup Honestbee has confirmed it’s suspending enterprise in half of the eight markets it operates in and shedding 10 p.c of its 1,000 employees. The associated fee-cutting seems to be a part of belt-tightening forward of a deliberate new injection of funding, TechCrunch has come to be taught.
In line with a press release shared at present, Honestbee is “halting our companies in Hong Kong and Indonesia” whereas its enterprise in Japan and the Philippines — and a few partnerships in different nations — might be “briefly suspended” whereas an inside evaluate is performed. It additionally operates in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand (the place it has paused its meals supply service) and Malaysia.
One of many huge issues round Honestbee’s future is its lack of financing, as TechCrunch reported final week. The corporate has raised round $60 million in disclosed funding from buyers, which doesn’t match its at present month-to-month losses of round $6.5 million. A supply informed TechCrunch that Honestbee is anticipating to win new financing by the center Might and that can give it an additional yr of runway. Nevertheless, it’s unclear what investor is offering the cash and precisely how a lot it is likely to be. The supply recommended it might be Formation Group, which has backed the corporate since its $15 million Collection A spherical was introduced in October 2015.
An Honestbee spokesperson declined to touch upon the corporate’s funding plans.
Past the money burn, we reported that the corporate has unpaid payments owed to a spread of suppliers and companions throughout its eight markets. Honestbee stated final week that it could layoff six p.c of employees however we reported on the time that extra terminations had been deliberate — at present’s assertion confirms that the quantity is certainly larger than first disclosed.
We additionally wrote that four-year-old Honestbee had informed employees in Singapore, its HQ, that it could not make payroll on time this month. The corporate stated at present that isn’t true. Sources informed TechCrunch that Honestbee informed employees final week that administration in Singapore wouldn’t be paid on time, however an replace this week communicated that the fee wouldn’t, actually, be delayed in any case.
New funding could stave off the necessity to promote the enterprise, however Honestbee’s ongoing talks with suitors — which we reported have included ride-hailing corporations Go-Jek and Seize — are ongoing. Attainable outcomes might embrace the corporate’s promoting its native operations in some markets in Southeast Asia to streamline its prices. One factor we do know from at present is that it’s going to proceed with its Habitat grocery store, which mixes on- and offline retail and is more likely to be capital intensive.
Right here is the complete assertion from Honestbee:
In 2015, honestbee began in Singapore with the mission of offering constructive social and monetary affect on the lives and companies that we contact. Immediately, we’re a regional enterprise dedicated to creating nice meals experiences accessible to clients throughout Asia.
Over the previous 4 years, now we have demonstrated dedication to our employees, companions and clients, and proceed to innovate and enhance our enterprise to remain related in at present’s rapidly-changing enterprise setting. The launch of habitat by honestbee in Singapore final October marks the subsequent part in our evolution as a meals firm.
As a part of an ongoing strategic evaluate of our enterprise, we’re halting our companies in Hong Kong and Indonesia, in addition to our meals vertical in Thailand. Our companies in Japan and the Philippines, together with particular partnerships in others markets are additionally briefly suspended as a part of this evaluate. That is obligatory to assist us focus and align our regional enterprise, and extra importantly, to allow us to raised meet our clients’ wants. The standing of honestbee’s enterprise within the remaining markets stands unchanged.
Some roles inside the organisation will now not be accessible. Roughly 10% of our international headcount within the organisation are affected.
There have been media experiences relating to payroll delay for our workers. We want to stress that that is unfaithful. We’ll make sure that all workers throughout all markets, together with Singapore, are paid in a well timed method.
As well as, we’re additionally dedicated to fulfilling our monetary obligations to all Bees, companions and distributors.
For context, our unique report is beneath:
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