Satisfying the Kravve-ing for home-made snacks
By Chong Jinn Xiung March 14, 2018
- Wants to simplify the process of selling home-made food products online
- Has 200 merchants signed on the platform and customers all across Malaysia
THE journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. For young entrepreneur Teh Yong Lin, that very first step was in his mother’s kitchen as he chatted while she worked on her home-made pumpkin jam and he suggested that she try selling her goods online to earn some extra income.
But selling products online is not as easy as it sounds. Unlike traditional e-commerce players that sell mostly electronic and fashion products, selling food is an altogether different ball game.
As an online seller, one has to contend with managing dozens of Private Messages (PM) from customers, handling deliveries to customers who sometimes don’t show up and cook enough supplies in advance for weekend bazaars.
“While e-commerce merchants had platforms like Lazada, Shopee or 11street to sell their goods, there is no place for people who want to sell home-made food to sell their wares so that’s what got me to start Kravve.co,” he explained.
Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug
The co-founder and marketing director of Kravve.co had always wanted to start his own business after having been bit by the entrepreneurial bug early in his university years while he was studying psychology at the University of Nottingham.
“I had this clear goal in mind that I wanted to be an entrepreneur because the feeling you get from creating something new and satisfying an unmet need, makes me feel happy and satisfied,” the 25-year-old said.
His co-founder and operations director Jean Heah, 24 came from a completely different background having studied architecture at USCI University before handling the operations and finances of the company.
Both Teh and Heah are of the opinion that Malaysia is a culinary melting pot and are impressed with the growing list of completely original products from their merchants that range from banana wine, lavender marmalade jam, black truffle potato chips, nasi lemak fish skin and so on.
To date, Teh says Kravve.co has over 200 registered merchants on the platform. There is no restriction on the number of products a merchant can list as there is no listing fee though Kravve.co takes a commission on each sale generated on the platform. Products sold on the platform are typically made to order as it helps save inventory space while ensuring that the product is very fresh.
“We usually have a delivery period of between five and seven working days but our customers don’t mind waiting a couple of extra days to receive their product so long as it arrives fresh and is nice to consume,” said Teh.
According to Heah, though the majority of Kravve.co’s merchants are centred around the Klang Valley, they already serve customers all across Malaysia including in Sabah and Sarawak.
A necessary pivot
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the duo, as Kravve.co needed to pivot in the middle of last year when it had to alter its business model from selling all kinds of food items from home-made spaghetti, cakes and biscuits to something niche and specialised.
Teh said the reason for the pivot was because he did not want to compete with food delivery and catering companies like Uber Eats, dahmakan and Food Panda.
“We needed to figure out a niche. That brought me back to my original objective which was to help my mother sell home-made products online,” he explained.
Nevertheless, it was a painful and risky decision. Teh said the most difficult part of the pivot was scrapping everything and starting again from scratch. “We had more than 50 merchants signed on with us and it felt painful to draft that email that told them that we would no longer support their business,” he said.
That being said, the pivot worked and Kravve.co is now among the top 30 startups selected under Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s KNEO (Khazanah Nasional Entrepreneurship Outreach) programme and are undergoing an acceleration process under 1337 Ventures.
Kravve.co is also among the initial batch of startups under Sunway’s iLabs Accelerator.