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Honestbee, the online grocery delivery service in Asia, is nearly out of money and trying to offload its business.
The company has held early conversations with a number of suitors in Asia, including ride-hailing giants Grab and Go-Jek, over the potential acquisition of part, or all, of its business, according to two industry sources with knowledge of the talks.
Honestbee - Supermarkets - Retailers - Goods - Customers
Founded in 2015, Honestbee works with supermarkets and retailers to deliver goods to customers using its store pickers, delivery fleet and mobile apps. The company is based in Singapore and operates in eight markets across Asia: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan. In some markets it has expanded to food deliveries and, in Singapore, it operates an Alibaba-style online/offline store called Habitat.
The company makes its money by taking a cut of transactions from consumer transactions, while it also monetizes delivery services separately.
Outside - Company - Crisis - Mode - Cash
Despite looking impressive from the outside, the company is currently in crisis mode due to a cash crunch — there’s a lot happening right now.
From talking to several former and current staff, TechCrunch has come to learn that Honestbee is laying off employees, it has a range of suppliers who are owed money, it has “paused” its business in the Philippines, it has closed R&D centers in Vietnam and India, it isn’t going to make payroll in some markets and a range of executives have quit the firm in recent months.
Issue - Company - Money - Thanks - Business
The issue is that the company is running out of money thanks to a business model with tight margins that’s largely unproven in Asia Pacific.
One source told TechCrunch that the company doesn’t currently have the funds to pay its staff this month. A source inside the company confirmed that Honestbee has told Singapore-based staff that they won’t be paid in time, but it isn’t clear about employees based...
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