Honestbee receives financial support from Brian Koo and associated funds

Habitat by Honestbee.

Honestbee has received financial support from key investor Brian Koo and his associated funds to clean up its debt load and start afresh.

According to a Business Times report, the Singapore-based delivery startup has signed an agreement with FLK Holdings, a US incorporated company backed by Brian Koo, Honestbee’s former chairman and interim chief executive, Formation Group Fund I, and Formation Group (Cayman) Fund I. Both Formation Group funds are also associated with Koo.

The agreement will involve a capital injection of $7 million into Honestbee, which is proposing a scheme that would see its creditors paid in a mix of cash and equity.

Honestbee’s CEO Ong Lay Ann verified the development, sharing that the investment is to provide working capital and payment to its creditors. He added that the company will need to raise more capital post-scheme to relaunch various parts of the business.

Ong shared that while Honestbee has received good investor interest, several are only willing to look at it once the restructuring process is complete. He said the aim is to achieve a debt-free status for Honestbee once the scheme is fully executed. He did not provide a deadline on when this might be.

According to the Straits Times report, FLK Holdings will set up a private entity in Singapore to which Honestbee’s business, assets and liabilities will be transferred into. This Singapore-registered entity will then issue shares to Honestbee’s creditors. Honestbee’s total debt to its creditors is about $230 million (S$313 million).

This agreement, however, is understood to be subject to the fulfillment of several conditions, including the extension of Honestbee’s debt moratorium by at least six months from Friday, scheme approval by the court and creditors, and Honestbee’s continued lease at its Habitat outlet in Boon Leat Terrace, Pasir Panjang.

Brian Koo, whose family controls South Korea tech giant LG, is Honestbee’s only secured creditor.

Koo, Formation Group and A Honestbee, a Singapore-registered special purpose vehicle linked to the Koo family, have poured over $8.3 million into the company since July 2019 for operating expenses.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.