Thai food delivery startup Line Man Wongnai seeks funding, eyes IPO

Photo: LINE Man Wongnai's LinkedIn page

Thai food delivery startup Line Man Wongnai said on Friday it was seeking investors to help grow the company and expand its domestic reach, after seeing a big jump in transactions due mainly to coronavirus curbs.

“We are in fundraising mode,” chief executive Yod Chinsupakul told Reuters, adding that its current round would be open for “two to three months, maximum”.

In July, Line Man, the food delivery unit of Japanese chat app, Line, merged with Thai restaurant aggregator, Wongnai, and raised $110 million from BRV Capital.

Yod believed the company’s valuation would exceed one billion dollars and that a realistic target for an initial public offering was within two to three years, and capital markets outside of Thailand would also be looked at.

Transactions on the platform grew 5.5 times since last year and the company aimed to cover all 77 Thai provinces by year-end from 55 at present.

Line Man Wongnai competes with tech giants like Grab, Go-Jek and Thai-based food delivery units of Siam Commercial Bank and True Food, owned by telecommunications firm True Corporation.

Line Man Wongnai’s advantage over rivals comes from access to 49 million users on Line‘s messaging app and 600,000 restaurant in its database, which lowered customer acquisition costs and made it faster to add new restaurants, Yod said.

However, after launching its own fleet, the company has had issues with its riders.

On Friday, scores protested outside its Bangkok office demanding better working conditions, like insurance, better commission, and free calls via the application.

The app has about 60,000 riders.

“They say they’ve taken up our request, but nothing happens,” said Line Man driver Adisorn Sinboonthu who travelled about 80 km (49.71 miles) from his home and said he makes around 200 baht ($6.40) a day after phone and gas expenses.

Earlier this week the company said it would consider riders’ requests after a similar protest. Line Man Wongnai did not immediately respond to a Reuters request on driver demands.

Reuters

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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.