STARTUPS: BT EXCLUSIVE

Foodtech startup Zeemart snags S$7m seed funding

Singapore

ZEEMART, a business-to-business (B2B) foodtech startup head-quartered in Singapore, has raised S$7 million in a seed round led by Indonesian listed investment firm Kresna Graha Investama, one of its executives told BT. Another notable investor in the round was Dr Prem Pillay, an angel investor with numerous healthcare startups and joint investments with Jungle Ventures in his portfolio.

Zeemart simplifies procurement for any business that needs to operate a kitchen. Currently, ordering decisions are done haphazardly on a daily basis and through a mix of channels such as WhatsApp or fax. The startup offers a platform that helps buyers and suppliers to connect and transact with one another easily, and also helps businesses make data-driven decisions.

It raised S$2.2 million in angel funding in July 2017 from a line-up of investors that included the family office of Sheng Siong, and KPISOFT, an enterprise performance management platform.

The company will use the latest injection of funds for product development and to accelerate its expansion into the Indonesian market. "We are excited by the enormous potential of the Indonesian market and are investing aggressively to rapidly scale operations in the country," said Neeraj Sundarajoo, co-founder & CEO of Zeemart, in a statement. "The funding and strategic involvement of a reputed Indonesian company provide great impetus to our efforts and will be invaluable in harnessing the full potential of this market."

Zeemart began operations in Indonesia three months ago and has offices in Jakarta and Medan. Prominent customers include restaurant chains Redbean, Denny's and FJ Group.

It has 65 staff across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, and will be expanding to Thailand, the Philippines and India.

In Singapore, its annualised gross merchandise value (GMV) for 2018 was S$60 million; the platform records S$1-2 million in GMV on a weekly basis, Zeemart's growth lead Prakash Somosundram told BT.

About 1,000 outlets in Singapore have signed on to use the platform and about 300 have been onboarded. Notable clients leveraging the Zeemart platform include Potato Head, Saizeriya, Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice and Jones the Grocer. The firm is currently working with about 100 active suppliers.

Michael Steven, president director of Kresna Graha Investama, said: "We believe in Zeemart's vision to maximise efficiency across the value chain and recognise the potential savings that they bring into the industry with their solutions. The Zeemart team have consistently impressed with their ability to execute and the agility to respond to market needs and feedback."

Mr Somosundram said the company is looking at going into e-payments and leveraging transaction data to provide financing to F&B businesses.

It is also testing out a service that will allow several orders from different suppliers to first be consolidated at a Zeemart partner warehouse, before they are transported at one go to the customer. Zeemart recently completed successful pilots for this service with a large UK-headquartered institutional caterer.