Singapore based Chope secures $8m in Series C round led by F&H Fund Management, NSI Ventures

Brand image from the company website

Singapore-based Chope Group has secured $8 million in series C funding from F&H Fund Management and NSI Ventures – the venture capital arm of $1.8 billion Northstar Group.

Other participating investors were DSG Consumers Partners, Frontier Ventures and unnamed Chinese investors.

Existing investor Singapore Press Holdings also increased its share capital, being amongst the participating investors. It had invested $2.5 million in Chope’s Series B round in March 2013.

Prior to this investment, Chope raised $3.38 million in its previous rounds. This Series C brings total funding to $11.38 million.

Chope (Singaporean slang for ‘reserve’) works by letting diners log onto the service via its website or smartphone app, select a restaurant, reserve a table and receive instant confirmation via email. Chope currently maintains a market presence in Singapore, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

It claims to have more than doubled revenue and seated over 20 million diners to date, since being launched by CEO and founder Arrif Ziaudeen in June 2011.

Chope’s recent acquisition of Singapore-based queueing service Ticktok in November 2014 further expanded its service offerings. This acquisition enabled it to access both the reservation and walk-in crowd, via automated phone calls and an SMS reminder when their table number is about to be called.

The most recent round of funding will enable the development and release of a new app for the Apple Watch. In addition, a ‘What’s Happening’ feature will be added, enabling diners to see which restaurants their friends have dined at.

Commenting on the deal, John Wu, the chairman of F&H Fund Management, stated: “As demonstrated by their remarkable growth, Chope’s service provides real value to both diners and restaurant operators. We hope to help Chope expand its platform to more Asian cities, and accelerate the company’s pace of product innovation.”

The entry of Chinese investors in this Series C round was sparked by Chope’s successful foray into the Greater China market in August 2014 and partnership with Ringier China, the Chinese arm of an international Swiss media conglomerate Ringier AG. The partnership involves enabling readers to make reservations in restaurants listed in Ringier China’s magazine City Weekend – an online English language, expatriate-focused lifestyle guide.

A ZDNet report has also revealed that Chope has partnered with travel platform TripAdvisor to be TripAdvisor’s restaurant booking partner. This partnership allows TripAdvisor users to make direct dining reservations via Chope’s booking system.

This transaction will see Duncan Robertson – former CFO of US competitor OpenTable and current CFO of construction startup Katerra – join Chope’s board of directors and provide input on market strategy.

Ziaudeen stated: “This investment and adding Duncan to our board has further increased Chope’s lead in Southeast Asia, but this is just the beginning. Thousands of restaurants still use paper, and a lot of education is needed to make them realise the potential of being available to mobile-toting diners 24/7.”

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