Vietnam F&B startup HotTab plans to bootstrap till it finds ‘compelling’ investor

Visual from the startup's Facebook page

Vietnam based food and beverage startup HotTab that provides hotel service tablets and POS (point of sale) service has been bootstrapping its business since the time it started and intends to do that till a “compelling” investor comes there way, its founder said in an interaction.

“We are open to all ideas, but we do not want to rely on investment as our primary business plan. As we already have customers paying us, we need to focus more on customer support and product improvement,” HotTab founder, Sanjeev Sapkota, told DEALSTREETASIA.

“Timing is essential for a startup to succeed. We are confident of being able to bootstrap as long as possible. And so far it is looking good,” he added.

HotTab will need investment to scale up in the future and Sapkota said that he would not say no if the investors are compelling enough. “I just do not want to take anybody’s money. As we are building a successful business, financing the operation is least of our worry,” he affirmed.

According to the founder, if you are relying on somebody else, it would be rather customers, market partners and distributors than a pure investor. Customers, market partners and distributors understand the market and the needs – it is also “quite a bit of  work to make an outsider understand your vision, strategies and product roadmap in order to maintain investor relationship,” he explained.

“Meanwhile, if you are bootstrapping, you are more comfortable […] focusing primarily on your customers, who will help you advance your product line. If you are capable of capitalising on your first few customers, the investors will be more confident in your business,” he said.

HotTab, which is associated with some expat and local restaurants, is planning to target more Vietnamese, fine dining restaurants, hotels and chains.

Eventually, it hopes to equip hotel rooms with tablets that will allow guests to access a range of services, from city guide, taxi booking, food ordering to the entire hotel services. However, currently it is focusing on restaurants POS and waiter tablets, including inventory management and business intelligence.

In the hotel segment, this multilingual service platform can become a revenue generator by enriching guests’ experiences and improving on supply chain management.

Sapkota is confident in the quality of HotTab services and the market-fitted business model. “The feedbacks from our customers have been positive,” he said.

HotTab charges its customers (restaurants) $1,500 yearly, that includes customer support, maintenance and free updates. Sapkota said HotTab is currently discussing partnerships with some distributors and suppliers to expand the business.

Related stories:

VCs in Vietnam: Scope for domestic development

Seed funding hard to come by in Vietnam: George Vozikis

Vietnam startup scene poised to take off as ecosystem comes together