Food Market Hub, a Malaysia-based cloud application platform for food and beverage (F&B) industry, announced Thursday that it has raised $8.5 million in an extended Series A+ round to finance further expansion and expedite growth.

The round was brought about due to significant investor interest, arising from both Food Market Hub’s rapid growth as well as an accelerated push to digitalisation in the F&B sector, thus bringing the startup’s total Series A funding to date to $12.5 million.

Food Market Hub said in a statement, the round was led by Southeast Asia focused venture capital firm AC Ventures Malaysia, which is backed by Malaysia’s Penjana Kapital fund.

The round also saw participation from returning investors Go-Ventures, SIG and 500 Global, new investors East Ventures, Velocity Ventures and Capital Code, as well as other angel investors.

The funding will enable Food Market Hub to accelerate its expansion plans to Indonesia, penetrate deeper into the Malaysian market, and strengthen its presence in Singapore and Thailand by 2022.

“From our past experiences, it’s clear that our platform has helped many F&B businesses to successfully reduce their food cost and wastage. We’re also able to help them grow tremendously, especially during these tough times brought on by the pandemic,

“We have observed significantly increased demand for the solutions we provide as more businesses realise the value of technology in enabling them to achieve greater efficiency – especially in today’s ever-evolving business climate,” said Anthony See, Chief Executive Officer of Food Market Hub.

Established in 2017, the Food Market Hub platform automates the purchasing and inventory-tracking process, helping F&B businesses minimise wastage while managing food costs and inventory more efficiently.

Using Food Market Hub, F&B restaurants can easily order from their existing and new suppliers while automatically syncing data from Point-of-Sales (POS), inventory and accounting systems for procurement decision-making on a single platform. Other integrations to third-party software are available, providing managers and owners with comprehensive data in real-time to manage their business efficiently.

As businesses have been forced to digitise to overcome challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Market Hub has experienced exponential growth since early 2020, doubling its active users to 5,000 with an overall retention rate of 87 per cent. Its annualised total order value has also grown more than 4 times in the past 12 months to $600 million in October 2021.

Its customers are also highly engaged, with the vast majority use the platform every other day to process 90% of all purchase transactions. The company also boasts diverse customers, including café chains such as The Coffee Academics, large restaurant groups Putien and Din Tai Fung, and Yum Brands, which runs the KFC and Pizza Hut franchises.

Food Market Hub has also recently expanded its offerings by launching its payments service in Malaysia, enabling F&B businesses to send invoices and collect payments seamlessly within the platform.

“Our mission is to support early-stage digital disruptors that will create value through their technological innovations, especially within the ASEAN region. Food Market Hub’s track record in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan has demonstrated strong potential to accelerate the transformation of F&B businesses. We look forward to their continued growth across the region and beyond,” said Ng Yi Chung, Partner at AC Ventures Malaysia.

This year, Food Market Hub was one of three winners of the HLB Launchpad 2020 to collaborate with Hong Leong Bank on a pilot project and recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saladplate, an F&B and hospitality marketplace, to help local businesses digitally source F&B items.

It also partnered with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in the virtual Go-eCommerce Expo 2021 to encourage local businesses to adopt eCommerce. This also marks the beginning of a partnership with Southeast Asia’s first Hospitality and Travel tech investor, Velocity Ventures to deepen Food Market Hub’s F&B industry foothold and expand into new markets quickly.

Beyond Malaysia, FMH already has a footprint in other Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore. With their recent expansion into Indonesia, the company now boasts a presence in six countries.

The company aims to continue supporting the digitalisation of Southeast Asian businesses with deeper coverage of the region and an eye to enter new markets such as Vietnam.

Over the next year, Food Market Hub plans to provide financing tools to support the recovery of regional F&B businesses.

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