VendPays seeks to raise up to US$732k via equity crowdfunding
By Digital News Asia August 29, 2018
- Anticipates 700% growth in vBarista in the next year
- vBarista is currently present in 22 locations
VENDPAYS Sdn Bhd, the operating company for vBarista, which compresses premium cafes’ into a five-square foot space, announced on Aug 28 that they aim to raise up to RM3 million (US$731,606) via Equity Crowdfunding (ECF) as the company prepares for expansion within the next one year amidst the expanding coffee market in Malaysia and Singapore.
The fundraising campaign will be facilitated by Ata Plus, a registered ECF platform.
VendPays is set on a mission to offer freshly brewed coffee of superior quality round-the clock, especially for those who are on the move.
“The ‘v’ in ‘vBarista’ stands for value, vending and virtual. Recognising an increasing demand among coffee drinkers for cheaper options as well as better accessibility to good coffee, we created vBarista. Leveraging on automation technology, we believe we are about to change the specialty coffee landscape forever,” said VendPays CEO and founder Raymond Woo.
The coffee beans used in vBarista are sourced from Caffe Vergnano, a coffee roaster in Italy with 136 years of heritage. Such good coffee usually comes with premium pricing.
However, VendPays coffee is reasonably priced at RM5 due to VendPays’ state-of-the-art proprietary automation technology.
“Since the incorporation of VendPays, we spent a good one year perfecting our research for the end-to-end smart cafe solution — a sophisticated system that allowed us to serve excellent coffee while keeping operations and management cost low,” Woo explained.
The future-ready vBarista coffee vending machines are equipped with: (1) an automated hygienic replenishment system with built-in water and stock storage solution; (2) a cloud based telemetry system for seamless inventory and sales management, and (3) a cashless payment system.
Apart from easing the business management process, these innovations also provide customers a hassle-free purchasing experience.
vBarista is QR code enabled – meaning that, with just one simple QR code scan via the mobile phone, customers can dispense a cup of well-crafted coffee in minutes.
VendPays is also in the midst of developing a customised mobile application to further improve operational efficiency and customer experience.
The specialty coffee markets in Southeast Asia are enjoying promising growth in recent years mostly due to increasing urbanisation and people’s deepening appreciation for high quality coffee.
In Malaysia, the coffee culture is particularly strong with an average Malaysian reported to consume about 2.5 cups of coffee per day.
The country also hosted a government-endorsed large-scale gathering of the coffee industry, Cafe Malaysia 2018, that saw the participation of 157 exhibitors from 22 countries.
According to Euromonitor International, the coffee market in Malaysia is expected to grow with more players in the coffee industry are anticipated to launch a variety of unique and premium flavours targeting different consumer segments.
“With our unique model that combines specialty coffee with affordability and convenience, we believe vBarista is poised to capture a substantial market size,” Woo added.
vBarista coffee vending machines are located in key Caltex petrol stations, as well as office buildings and 3-Star hotels in Klang Valley.
This is evident seeing the recent presence of notable international coffee chains, such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee, at above locations in addition to their more traditional strategy to open shops in shopping complexes.
Currently, vBarista is present in 22 locations and will add another 150 locations within the first year after this fundraising exercise.
“We applaud the ingenuity of VendPays’ business model and bold market positioning. It can truly alter the landscape of the coffee market. We believe VendPays’ ECF campaign will provide the company an extra thrust in brand exposure and publicity, apart from the opportunity to raise capital,” said Ata Plus co-founder and director Kyri Andreou.
VendPays’ ECF campaign will be opened for three months from Aug 28 onwards.