Honestbee’s marketing VP Christina Lim steps down

Singapore-headquartered grocery and food delivery startup Honestbee’s vice president of marketing, Christina Lim, has left the firm after a year into the role.

The development was first reported by Marketing. Honestbee later confirmed Lim’s departure.

Formerly the managing director of Dentsu Singapore, Lim joined the startup last July and reported to Honestbee co-founder and former CEO Joel Sng. She was part of the startup’s leadership team and was responsible for growing the brand across new categories and regions.

Prior to Dentsu Singapore, she held marketing and digital roles at Singapore’s supermarket chain NTUC Fairprice.

Sng was reportedly fired from the CEO’s role in May. Soon after news broke about his exit, Honestbee confirmed the development and appointed investor Brian Koo as the interim CEO.

We had earlier reported that Honestbee is looking to raise some S$20 million ($14.5 million) in bridge financing, and is open to raising this capital via convertible loans/warrants at double-digit interest rates for a term of 6-12 months.

The bridge loan will also be personally backed by interim CEO Koo, who is also the general partner and founder of Silicon Valley-based investment firm Formation 8, which led a $15-million Series A round for Honestbee in 2015.

In May, Honestbee halted its food delivery service in Singapore and temporarily suspended its laundry service, as part of an in-depth strategic review of the business. Its physical store, Habitat by Honestbee and its grocery delivery service remain operational.

Besides Singapore, Honestbee had also suspended its operations in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines. It said it will also lay off about 10 per cent of its global workforce.

Apparently, it has also suspended its operations in Taiwan on June 29, according to a report by Taiwan News. Honestbee is said to owe nearly 300 restaurants NT$7.79 million ($250,561) in overdue payments.

Founded in 2015, Honestbee provides on-demand delivery services for grocery and food orders placed on its mobile app. The startup is facing a severe cash crunch and is said to be actively seeking buyers for its business, according to a TechCrunch report.

One person close to the development told us that ride-hailing major Grab was approached by the startup but declined to engage in further discussions. The ride-hailing giant already has a stake in Honestbee’s competitor HappyFresh.

One former Honestbee executive told us that Honestbee had initially targeted to close a fresh round of funding in January from Japanese investors. The deal, however, failed to conclude because investors were not convinced by the startup’s growth prospects and financial decisions.