WhyQ adds US$1.1M to Series A1 to enable hawkers to go, sell online

The WhyQ team

WhyQ, a digital innovation startup focused on helping micro SMEs digitize their businesses, has secured an additional RM4.6 million (US$1.1 million) in a Series A2 expansion round.

Kairos FoodTech Fund from Kairos Capital Group led this round. The initial Series A2 round of RM11.8 million (US$2.7 million) closed in 2021 and included Delivery Hero, Chope, Angel Central and RB Investments.

Kairos Capital has previously invested in Good Meat, Roslin Technologies and Mission Barns.

With this additional funding, WhyQ plans to expand its digitization platform and support the growth of small businesses in Singapore and Malaysia. It will also improve its existing products and develop new ones.

“Working closely with hawkers in Singapore over the past five years has allowed us to understand the challenges small business owners face in terms of digitization. By leveraging our experience working with small F&B owners such as peddlers, we want to expand our expertise to help small business owners in Malaysia digitize properly with simple and free products,” said Varun Saraf, CEO and co-founder of WhyQ.

WhyQ started as a hawker food delivery service in 2017 and became an MSME-focused food delivery platform in Singapore. The firm has since added products to build digital infrastructure, enabling MSMEs to sell and grow their business online. It offers two free products: an eBiz app EBiz and a digital bookkeeping app Kira Kira.

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EBiz enables MSMEs to create their own online storefronts, connect to popular marketplaces such as Foodpanda, accept online payments and connect to logistics services such as Lalamove within 60 seconds. This makes it easy for MSMEs to set up a digital presence quickly and easily and start selling online.

Kira Kira, on the other hand, allows small businesses to track their daily transactions, manage their accounts and apply for low-interest loans from partners such as Funding Societies. This makes it easy for businesses to keep track of their finances and access the funding they need to grow.

WhyQ currently powers over 20,000 small businesses in Singapore and Malaysia.

“SMEs are the economic backbone of Southeast Asia, they account for more than 90 percent of all businesses and are the primary drivers of social mobility. The pandemic has increased the demand for more adoption and integration of digital technology among SMEs. But many SMEs face numerous barriers to adopting technology at a critical time of need WhyQ is well positioned to help SMEs with their digitization challenges by providing the digital infrastructure and tools to close the digital divide for merchants in SEA ,” said Eric Cheong, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Kairos Capital.

As part of its planned project pipeline in 2023, WhyQ plans to add more features to the eBiz app, such as custom templates for online storefronts and integrations with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopee and Lazada. It also plans to partner with more logistics providers and payment gateways to give small businesses even more options to fulfill orders and accept payments.

In addition, it plans to enhance its digital bookkeeping app with new features such as automatic sales and expense categorizations, inventory management and bill payments. It will also continue to expand its network of lending partners to provide more options for small businesses seeking low-interest and quick loans.

WhyQ will also strengthen the digital payment infrastructure for MSMEs by offering a wide range of payment solutions that address the needs of merchants as they go digital.

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