On-demand grocery delivery #startup Honestbee has expanded to Thailand, it announced today. Users in Bangkok will be able to order their daily groceries through the service, which uses freelance shoppers to pick up and deliver orders.
Honestbee has partnered with Thai supermarket chain Villa Market, where shoppers will pick up groceries. The partnership includes Villa Market’s bistro and cooking studio The Gastro and the Villa Market Holiday Store.
The service promises same-day delivery, breaking the day into one-hour timeslots.
Honestbee has appointed Bounthay “Thai” Khammanyvong as country manager. Bounthay is a Thai entrepreneur who was most recently COO of fashion ecommerce startup Orami. The service has been tested in Bangkok before the official launch and the feedback is good, he says.
Honestbee wants to build a delivery network that enables freelancers to fulfill a number of different services.
“From a tech standpoint not much needs to be tweaked,” Thai tells Tech in Asia. “People are asking for more products, more convenience because in Bangkok particularly, it’s tough for customers to get things done. I’ve always believed ecommerce is primarily about the customers’ convenience.”
Honestbee CEO Joel Sng tells Tech in Asia that Thailand was always a market the startup was after, it was just a matter of getting the timing right and building the right team.
For now, the startup will only offer its grocery delivery service in the country. Honestbee recently debuted laundry and food delivery in Singapore. Joel says new services will be added according to market demands. “The grocery business is always core for us,” he explains. “Our country managers then figure out what each city needs at the time.”
He offers Taiwan as an example, where Honestbee also does laundry and food delivery and offers a recycling service as well. The company has previously told Tech in Asia it wants to build a delivery network that enables freelancers to fulfill a number of different services, not exclusive to the ones currently available.
Honestbee currently operates in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Joel says it has over 10,000 delivery people across its markets. He doesn’t offer specific numbers on deliveries, users, or revenue, saying only that deliveries are growing exponentially.
Joel thinks Honestbee’s platform provides retailers with an easy way to digitization. “We work with retailers who are not always the most tech-savvy. We want to figure out how to help them do better. So our service is to the users, but also the partners we bring on board,” he says.
Honestbee raised a series A round worth US$15 million in October 2015. For the moment, it doesn’t have plans to raise more money as it’s “quite comfortable with the money in the bank,” Joel says. “Always raise as little as possible,” he laughs.