Singapore-based online restaurant Grain has closed a pre-Series B round backed by early-stage venture fund Majuven with participation from food services company FoodXervices, and F&B company First Gourmet, according to a press release.
Financial terms of the deal are undisclosed.
Funding proceeds will see Grain’s distribution network in Singapore scaled up prior to the Series B fundraising. In December 2016, NSI Ventures reportedly led a separate pre-Series B investment in Grain.
In January 2016, Grain secured $1.7 million in Series A investment in a financing round led by NSI Ventures, with participation from 500 Startups, Ivan Lee, DMP, Koh Boon Hwee (Managing Director of GK Goh Holdings) and other undisclosed angel investors.
Startup stock exchange Funderbeam estimated its valuation at $11.53 million as at January 2016, while data compiled by Crunchbase indicates the firm has disclosed funding of S$4.2 million across three rounds, including this latest Series B capital raise.
Majuven is a Singapore-based fund that focuses on high-growth enterprises in the areas of biomedical sciences, digital convergence and sustainable technologies. Led by Managing Partner Lim Ho Kee, it counts Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Singapore’s prime minister, as one of its founding partners.
The venture utilises data and a technology-enabled distribution network to serve food to customers. Customers can select dishes and place their orders via the online platform, with customers getting a notification via their mobile phone. It competes in the food delivery space with Foodpanda, UberEats and Deliveroo. Unlike these players, it possesses in-house cooking as a key differentiator, with its own central kitchen.
In 2017, it reportedly tripled its investment in technology and posted sales growth estimated at 330 per cent, as well as improving gross profits by more than 10 per cent, with 60 per cent of its users being repeat customers.
Grain reflects a broader trend of the emerging virtual restaurant model, where virtual eateries operate out of centralised commissaries that operate several food-delivery services and can enjoy advantages offer in terms of economies of scale, cost efficiencies and product quality.
These virtual eateries are often built around specific cuisine concepts and have the advantage of reduced costs from not having to devote square footage to customer seating and waiting areas.
Singapore, with its limited land and high property price, has seen more of these delivery-only restaurants being established, which also translates to greater competition for Grain.
In a statement, CEO and co-founder Yi Sung Yong said, “One of the biggest challenges people face every day is deciding what to eat – how to find consistently delicious, healthy and convenient food. We want to solve this problem by creating delicious food that makes you feel great as well as being easily accessible.”