Singapore: Online restaurant booking service Chope raises $13m

Photo by Quentin Dr on Unsplash

Singapore-based online restaurant booking service The Chope Group has raised $13 million (S$18 million) in a round led by Square Peg Capital and joined by C31 Ventures and Moelis Australia.

Return backers NSI Ventures, Susquehanna International Group, DSG Consumer Partners and Singapore Press Holdings also joined the round, which is Chope’s largest till date.

Using Chope’s website and apps, diners can make reservations at nearly 2,000 hotels in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok, Phuket, Jakarta, and Bali. Launched in 2011 in Singapore, it claims to be the most widely-used restaurant booking system in Asia. It has more than 3,000 F&B clients that use its suite of technologies to manage bookings, queues, CRM, promotions, and pre-payments.

Chope (which is Singaporean slang for ‘reserve’) says it has seated over 20 million diners to date. The company plans to use the growth funding to strengthen its offerings, enlist a larger salesforce, enhance customer support and invest in further innovations.

Prior to this round, Chope had raised $8 million in 2015 in a funding round led by F&H Fund Management, a fund chaired by Alibaba CTO John Wu, along with NSI Ventures, the venture arm of $1.8 billion Northstar Group. DSG Consumers Partners, Frontier Ventures, Singapore Press Holdings and other unnamed Chinese investors had also participated in that round.

Singapore Press Holdings had also invested $1.3 million into Chope in 2013.

The company currently earns revenues in three ways: first, a booking fee for each diner successfully seated at a restaurant, second, a monthly software fee to use its proprietary table management system that replaces the restaurant’s pen and paper systems, and third, a commission on promotional vouchers sold to diners. It is also building out its mobile capacity.

In a statement, Tushar Roy, Partner at international venture capital firm Square Peg Capital, said, “We are impressed by Chope’s success in capturing a leading position in Asia’s most attractive, growing dining markets in the premium dining segment. Chope offers a compelling service to both restaurants and diners, and we are excited to contribute our expertise and capital to substantially expand the business.”

Arrif Ziaudeen, CEO of Chope, said, “Chope looks forward to our next stage of growth with this new capital and strategic partnership. With these resources, we are positioned to invest significantly in our USPs of user experience and customer service, while deepening our reach into our markets across Asia. We are now targeting profitability between late 2018 and early 2019.”

Chope ascribes this interest from investors to its strategy to diversify its offerings instead of focusing on just one core avenue. In a recent Forbes interview, Arrif said he would like to double the size of the company in the next 18 months. From 2,000 restaurants on its network now, the company plans to add another 1,000 this year and then hit 6,000 by 2019.

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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.

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.