WhyQ secures US$1.08 mil in extended Series A2 funding round led by Kairos Capital Group
By Digital News Asia January 27, 2023
- To expand digitalisation platform, improve existing products
- Closed initial US$2.7mil Series A2 from 4 investors in 2021
WhyQ, a digital innovation startup focused on helping micro-SMEs (MSMEs) digitise their business, has successfully secured an additional US$1.08 million (RM4.6 million) in an extension to its Series A2 funding round.
In a statement, the firm said the extended round was led by the Kairos FoodTech Fund of Kairos Capital Group, which previously invested in Good Meat, Roslin Technologies and Mission Barns.
It said the initial Series A2 round of US$2.7 million (RM11.8 million)) closed in 2021 included Delivery Hero, Chope, Angel Central, and RB Investments.
With this additional funding, WhyQ plans to continue expanding its digitalisation platform and supporting the growth of small businesses in Singapore and Malaysia, it added.
Additionally, it will focus on improving existing products and developing new ones to help small businesses better compete in the digital economy.
Varun Saraf, CEO and co-founder said collaborating closely with hawkers in Singapore for the past five years has allowed the startup to understand the challenges that small business owners face when it comes to digitalisation.
“Leveraging on our experience partnering with small-scale F&B owner-operators like hawkers, we would like to extend our expertise to now help small business owners in Malaysia to digitalise properly, with simple and free products,” he added.
“With key backers and partners such as Kairos, Delivery Hero, Ant Group, Chope, we are in a strong position to lead in the region,” Saraf said.
WhyQ currently powers over 20,000 small businesses in Singapore and Malaysia.
The startup offers two free products: an eBiz app (WhyQ EBiz) and a digital bookkeeping app (WhyQ Kira Kira).
According to WhyQ, its eBiz app enables micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to create their own online storefronts, connect with popular marketplaces like Foodpanda, accept online payments, and connect with logistics services like Lalamove - all within 60 seconds. This makes it easy for MSMEs to set up a digital presence quickly and easily and start selling online, it said.
It added that its digital bookkeeping app, 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, thus making it easy for businesses to stay on top of their finances and access the funding they need to grow.
Eric Cheong, co-founder and managing partner of Kairos Capital Group said SMEs are the economic backbone of Southeast Asia, accounting for more than 90% of all companies and are the primary drivers of social mobility.
“The pandemic has increased demand for more adoption and integration of digital technology among SMEs, however, many SMEs face numerous barriers to adopting technology at a critical time of need,” he added.
“WhyQ is well positioned to help SMEs with their digitalisation challenges, by providing the digital infrastructure and tools to close the digital divide for merchants in SEA,” Cheong said.
“This will create an economic wave to uplift the livelihoods and resilience of small business owners and merchants in an increasingly competitive online commerce environment,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Singhvi, COO and co-founder of WhyQ said, in Malaysia, small businesses play a crucial role in both the economy and culture, however, they often struggle to find products that cater to their specific needs.
“This problem has intensified since the pandemic, making it more important than ever for small businesses to adapt to the online world of commerce,” he added.
As part of its planned project trajectory in 2023, WhyQ plans to add more features to the eBiz app, such as customisable templates for online storefronts and integrations with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada.
It also plans to partner with more logistics providers and payment gateways to give small businesses even more options for fulfilling orders and accepting payments.
Additionally, it plans to enhance its digital bookkeeping app with new features such as automatic sales & expense categorisations, inventory management, and bill payments and will continue to expand its network of lending partners to provide more options for small businesses seeking low-interest and quick loans.
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