Honestbee, the troubled grocery delivery startup from Singapore, owes salaries amounting to about $1 million to as many as 217 employees, according to a court affidavit as was first reported by the Straits Times.
Further, the affidavit also states that the company’s chairman and key investor, Brian Koo, resigned from the board on September 12.
Honestbee is currently engaged in a Singapore High Court-supervised restructuring process aimed at turning the company’s finances around. The Singapore High Court had directed the startup last month to provide details of a proposed scheme of arrangement — the first step in restructuring Honestbee’s debt.
The Singapore High Court has scheduled its next hearing on the matter on September 30.
According to the Straits Times report, as many as 44 former Honestbee employees filed claims with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management in Singapore. An affidavit filed by Honestbee’s CEO, Ong Lay Ann, also states that the company has downsized to 190 employees from 523 full-time and 77 part-time staff in January.
A previous affidavit filed by Honestbee had reported that the company owes its 20 largest unsecured creditors about S$276.6 million ($199.21 million), higher than previously announced estimates. It also owes key investor Formation Group $4 million, secured by an all-monies charge.
Honestbee’s three largest creditors are all linked to Brian Koo – Singapore-registered special purpose vehicle A Honestbee, Formation Group and Koo, himself. The three collectively account for about 77.2 per cent of Honestbee’s debt.
Brian Koo, a general partner at Formation Group, had stepped in as Honestbee’s interim CEO after its previous CEO and co-founder, Joel Sng resigned from the role in May.
Formation Group has previously expressed interest to inject up to $25 million to shore up Honestbee’s finances. Koo and Formation Group each injected $1 million into Honestbee as working capital between August 5 and August 22.
Launched in 2015, Honestbee was co-founded by Joel Sng, Jonathan Low and Isaac Tay. Neither of the founding team members is currently with the company. The Singapore-based startup is currently led by Ong Lay Ann, who joined Honestbee in July as CEO.