You know all those promo codes that start-ups like to give for free, that you always wonder how they earn money?
Well, here’s the what:
It’s probably ‘cuz many of them aren’t actually making that much money. And in honestbee’s case, it can only be described as a shit storm:
- honestBee was founded by 3 people in 2015 and headquartered in Singapore, with presence in 8 countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines and Japan.
- They raised more than $60 million from investors and has about a 1,000 people under payroll.
- Sometime in 2018, co-founder Isaac Tay left honestbee.
- Problems started surfacing in Jan 2019, when honestbee paused their partnership with NTUC.
- In April 2019, honestbee temporarily suspended operations in the Philippines, which is supposed to be their best performing market.
- Additionally, services in Hong Kong and Indonesia, food vertical in Thailand are stopped. Japan services are also suspended.
- April 2019, Tech in Asia reported the retrenchment of 50 to 70 people out of its 1,000.
- Multiple unnamed senior executives resigned, and other notable key executives include Malaysia country managing director Pulkit Manchanda, Singapore managing director Chris Urban, honestbee’s deputy managing director in Indonesia, Hendro Tan.
- Internal numbers for December 2018 indicate that honestbee lost S$6.5 million.
- On honestbee rumoured to be selling the business.
- 1 May 2019, one of co-founders Joel Sng exits honestbee, to be replaced by Brian Khoo, a founder of one of their initial investors
- In May 2019, anonymous sources revealed that NTUC suspension was due to outstanding debt, and honestbee still owed partner-vendors about SGD$24K in Taiwan.
Needless to say, when people in so many departments of the company start leaving with no good official explanation it doesn’t seem that the company is doing great.
Heck, even the co-founders, who are supposed to be the most invested, has left. Considering the complicated non-straight-forward case for Joel Sng’s exit, we can only imagine that people leaving were like:
And it’s probably not far from the truth, since employer reviews for honestbee on Glassdoor are at 2.7/5, with many employees complaining about management.
Great companies usually have happy workers. And bad companies usually have unhappy workers. Anyways, 99% of Goody Feed workers are unhappy #justsaying
Singapore Food delivery to be stopped, Laundry Service Suspended
Did we say the shit storm is forecasted to subside soon? Cause it isn’t.
With effect from 20 May 2019, they are stopping their food delivery services in Singapore as well as suspending their laundry service temporarily.
In a media statement, honestbee’s rationale for the decision is “to optimise the business structure, and to drive better focus and alignment with honestbee’s current strategic priorities”.
Which doesn’t like anything, since that’s basically the same thing as what they said for the previous suspensions.
This is expected to affect about 400 freelance delivery persons, though full-time employees in Singapore are not affected.
Is this really the death of a worker bee?
The life of a worker bee isn’t very fun, since most of them work all day, every day until they die. So… bad company name aside, it seems appropriate as they might be nearing the end of that worker bee life.
But it could just be a case that honestbee simply spread their operations too thin and didn’t have the necessary resources to back up that ambition.
With the likes of Grab, FoodPanda, and Deliveroo, it seems hard to argue that honestbee will be able to keep up with the competition.
Their grocery delivery business, which was their core business, to begin with, as well as habitat, a brick-and-mortar supermarket concept, is still to be continued.
I wouldn’t place too much hopes on the company considering what we see so far, but there’s still a small chance that perhaps some QueenBee will buy over this worker bee.