honestbee to stop food delivery in Singapore, suspend laundry service; move hits 400 delivery persons

STRUGGLING food delivery startup honestbee is halting its food delivery business in Singapore and suspending its laundry service with effect from May 20, affecting some 400 freelance delivery persons.

The headcount of honestbee employees in Singapore will not be affected.

In a media statement on Wednesday, honestbee said that the decision was "to optimise the business structure, and to drive better focus and alignment with honestbee’s current strategic priorities".

The firm will continue to operate its grocery delivery business as well as habitat, its brick-and-mortar supermarket concept.

The development comes on the heels of a series of cost-cutting moves by honestbee, amid media reports of a cash crunch and plans for fresh fundraising.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, The Business Times reported that investors were approached earlier this month about raising at least S$20 million for honestbee, and that before its leadership transition, it has eyed growth avenues including finance and insurance partnerships.

In late April, honestbee announced a 10 per cent layoff of its global headcount, and suspensions and halts in operations in its various markets amid allegations of a cash crunch. Co-founder Joel Sng resigned as CEO on May 2. He was replaced by Brian Koo, a founding member of honestbee backer and US venture firm Formation 8.

"The newly appointed executive team is working on future plans to stay relevant and sustainable in today’s rapidly-changing business environment," honestbee said in Wednesday statement.