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.

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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. 
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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.