There’s a glut of startups in Singapore catering to restaurants, seeking to improve their processes and help them with discoverability, reservations, and digitization. From HungryGoWhere to Oddle, there’s no shortage of tech solutions for restaurateurs.
Soraya and Richard Kefs think they still have something to bring to the table in this crowded space. The husband-and-wife team founded Weeloy in 2015 to help restaurants and other food and beverage (F&B) businesses streamline their processes and improve their services. Unlike competitors, they offer a single software platform that takes care of all their needs, whether that’s reservations, table management, or marketing.
The two had previously co-founded Fastbooking, a France-headquartered company that made software for hotels to improve their bookings and better manage their workflow. The company was acquired by French hotel chain Accor in 2015.
While running Fastbooking, the co-founders realized a lot of the difficulties hotels and hospitality businesses face are the same for F&B businesses. Yet restaurants are lagging behind in terms of improving their process, Soraya tells Tech in Asia. So when they exited Fastbooking in 2013, they started exploring the restaurant market.
Weeloy’s thinking is that an establishment’s brand is one of its most valuable assets.
“Restaurants have had to address these issues with a patchwork of different solutions,” Soraya, who’s the CEO of Weeloy, explains. “These solutions are often not integrated, they’re not optimized for time, or they don’t offer access to data.” Soraya argues the hotel industry is used to services and software that combine all these services into one, but restaurants are not.
This is where Weeloy comes in. The Singapore-based #startup adopts a software-as-a-service approach for businesses. Its online tech includes table reservation and management, catering and online ordering, call center and customer support, and tools to help restaurant owners showcase and advertise their establishment. The platform offers data insights across its different services.
The startup’s products are white-label, which means clients can have their own branding and logos on top of the software. “We wanted to address the F&B industry with the same philosophy we had for the hotel business, which is respecting their brand and their customers,” Soraya says.
Weeloy’s thinking is that an establishment’s brand is one of its most valuable assets and should be highlighted accordingly. “We build all our products with this in mind,” she adds.
The startup also has a business-to-consumer component, which allows users to discover restaurants and book tables. It features gamification elements like a “spin-the-wheel” game that unlocks offers and discounts. There’s also a foodie blog that offers reviews, info on events, and highlighted restaurants and bars.
Soraya says Weeloy’s advantage in the market is in being able to offer a full suite of products that’s integrated and connected from the ground up. This way, the startup can serve each client’s unique needs and customize its products and services. Weeloy also views its white-label approach as a key differentiator, putting its clients’ brand before its own.
Expanding with fresh funds
Weeloy just closed its series A, raising US$3.6 million. The round was led by FirstFloor Capital, a Malaysian venture capital firm that invests in a broad range of technology businesses. AI-powered analytics startup Appier is one of its portfolio companies. This is the first institutional fundraise for Weeloy, which has bootstrapped its way up to now.
The funding will help Weeloy build up its client and user base, continue improving its technology, and expand to more countries. It’s currently working with “hundreds of restaurants” but Soraya doesn’t reveal more detailed figures on its clients, users, or revenue.
At the moment, the company operates in Singapore and Thailand. This year it aims to expand to other markets in Asia-Pacific, like Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Converted from Singapore dollars. US$1 = S$1.40