Online marketplace Supplybunny recently secured $300,000 in seed funding from Shanghai based venture capital firm, Gobi Partners, reports Tech in Asia.

Supplybunny operates as an online marketplace that connects restaurant owners with wholesale food and beverage suppliers in Malaysia. The startup was founded by Tham Kengyew a year ago. Funds will be used to expand its team and boost marketing efforts.

Many restaurants are stuck in the old era of ordering kitchen supplies by phone or email, and paying by cash or check.

Supplybunny aims to change this in Malaysia.

Supplybunny makes ordering food supplies as easy as how consumers order meals online. The website features an inventory of what’s available, from canned goods to meat and fresh produce, and their prices per kilogram or pack.

It also serves as a directory of verified suppliers, giving users the ability to filter the data on the site by supplier name. For wholesalers, the site simplifies the billing process by eliminating the need to manually collate orders and chase invoices.

“Supplybunny offers a functional solution which fills an industry gap in reducing operational cost issues that suppliers regularly face while also providing a one-stop marketplace for restaurateurs to conveniently get all of their F&B supplies,” says Gobi Partners managing partner, Thomas Tsao.

Supplybunny has signed a partnership with Offpeak, a restaurant booking startup in Malaysia, also part of Gobi Partner’s portfolio. Under the partnership, Offpeak will introduce its existing base of over 1,600 partner restaurants to Supplybunny’s platform.

Supplybunny has plans for expansion in Southeast Asia.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on August 23. Read the full version here

Evisa Asia has launched a travel visa application in Kuala Lumpur to provide visa requirement, visa product and services that cater to citizens of 40 countries worldwide, reports e27.

The app currently offer 40 products consisting of electronic visa, pre-filled form, visa sticker, invitation letter and approval letter.

One of their services, “Embassy Trip”, which requires pickup of passport, is available to Malaysian citizens only for the moment.

Malaysian citizens would require a visa to visit nearly half of the places in the Asian continent.

Evisa Asia’s products and services are specifically created to meet visa needs as such.

Evisa utilizes a single universal form which caters to single or multiple applications, simultaneously. Evisa Asia also provides passport drive-thru facilities for clients to drop off their passports alongside passport photo conversion, via a selfie photo.

Formerly, a China visa is obtained either via a travel agent or by personally going through an application process. This travel visa app gives users an alternative by filling up a form (via app) then wait for their passport to be collected and delivered back safely alongside a visa sticker in the earliest time.

“We want to make travel visa application as easy as booking a flight. The Cambodia electronic visa project inspired us to find a way to solve visa problems for Asia,” says Lee Earn Pin, Co-Founder of Evisa Asia.

Evisa Asia was founded back in 2006, where they built the government’s first electronic visa system. The company’s first visa office-Passport-drive-thru is currently based in Malaysia.

A version of this appeared in e27 on August 18. Read the full version here.

The Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry has registered with the Malaysian Trade Ministry’s halal ecommerce portal, ehalal.comreports Jakarta Post.

The portal serves not as an online store to sell products but rather as a catalogue that lists halal products available for sale. The portal directs buyers to verified suppliers or its ecommerce partners.

Halal products account for 11% of total products in the world. Around 67% is food and beverages, 22% pharmaceutical and the remainder beauty products.

What is ehalal.com?

ehalal is an initiative by the Halah Industry Corporation, which is expected to generate a turnover of approximately $73M this year, its first year of operations. The platform is rolling out to China, South Korea and Singapore, along with Indonesia, to bridge all Halal suppliers in the country, in order to expand the ecommerce business.

Besides Indonesian and Malaysian products, ones from India can also be found on ehalal.com. The Malaysian Trade Ministry would conduct a road show in Thailand, Australia, Japan and Europe in August and September to attract more partners.

ehalal.com also works with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to incorporate MUI’s database to verify a product’s halal certificate, allowing users to view it on the product page.

More countries are viewing the halal market as an emerging market force, a sector which can significantly contribute to economic growth in Asia.

A version of this appeared in Jakarta Post on August 2. Read the full version here.

130 Malaysian startups have come together to celebrate Malaysian entrepreneurship by launching Project Merdeka and beat the negative headlines in Malaysia this past week reports Tech in Asia.

In recent news, The Wall Street Journal reported US federal prosecutors filing a lawsuit to seize more than $1 billion in assets, money siphoned off the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad Fund. Caught right in the middle of this scandal is Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of pocketing $731 million from the fund.

Project Merdeka is driven by Unicroach, a community of the top founders and ecosystem enablers in Malaysia, Project Merdeka is a site offering deals from 130 startups like 123RF, Grab, KFit, iFlix and Lazada.

For the first time in the history of our country, local tech startups have put their industry differences aside and united for a common goal – to give back to the community . – Serene Gan, Project Lead.

Any Malaysian startup can submit deals to go live and it is a 100% free. There is no commission and participation fee. Users can click directly to each startup or just apply the discount code, ‘MERDEKA’.

The group intends to make this a yearly promotion, with plans to track sales and release data in the near future.

A version of this appeared in Tech In Asia on August 1. Read the full version here.

Mobile-first shopping and fashion discovery app, Goxip is in the midst of raising another round of funding to boost their growth in Southeast Asia. The app targets over a million downloads in 2016, both from its home market Hong Kong and the newly launched market, Malaysia. The next funding will be notably larger as the company plans to launches a marketplace and expanding to a new market.

Earlier this year, Goxip raised a seed round of $1.6 million, one of the largest in Southeast Asia, but the team anticipates the cash run to shorten as their growth speeds up.

“Our next phase is to develop a marketplace and execute that in the next two months, or less. We are looking to partner with local designers and retailers as well,” Juliette Gimenez, Goxip CEO and co-founder said during a press conference. “We don’t have a fixed runway for what we raised, but we may be utilising the funds to grow faster than we originally expected.”

Goxip is Raising Fund to Build a Marketplace

Source: goxip.com

Goxip Marketplace

Goxip’s marketplace will be built for merchants and individuals to run their own online stores. They have also been eyeing Thailand and Indonesia as potentially new markets, but the team said 2016 will largely focus on growing its business in Hong Kong and Malaysia. The team is also aggressively hiring to pull off its growth plans.

The Hong Kong-based startup announced a $1.62 million seed funding in May, led by first-time tech startup investor, and socialite entrepreneur Chryseis Tan who committed $1.5 million for a 30% stake in the startup. Another $120,000 was contributed by Ardent Capital, which has a track record investing in ecommerce platforms around the region.

Chryseis Tan is also the daughter of Malaysian tycoon, Vincent Tan, who owns the conglomerate Berjaya Group operating various businesses in food and beverage, retail, automotive, property and gaming, has been a key mentor to the Goxip team.

A version of this first appeared in Deal Street Asia on July 28. Read the full article here

Malaysia’s less than favorable internet speed is harming the country’s aspirations in building an accelerated digital economy, reports Digital News Asia.

Ecommerce is set to be one of the key drivers of Malaysia’s digital economy, but that aspiration may be dampened by the relatively slow internet speeds available in the country, according to Yasmin Mahmood, CEO of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation.

Malaysia’s average internet speed of 7.3Mbps was far below the global average of 23Mbps.

In comparison, Singapore enjoys an average connection speed of 122Mbps and even a developing country like Indonesia is fast catching up, with average speeds of 6Mbps. The Indonesian government has also announced that it aims to overtake Malaysia by 2019.

It is well known that consumers are less likely to shop or partake in online activities if the connection is not up to par. Malaysia’s notoriously slow internet speeds are often the subject of irritation by consumers and corporates. The worrying implication is that the growth of ecommerce will be affected if the connectivity does not improve.

In terms of data speed and affordability in the mobile space, Malaysia is not far off from other countries, but the big gap lies within broadband connectivity. This responsibility falls right under the Malaysian Communication and multimedia commission’s charter, and should be fixed as soon as possible.

It does not help that Communications and Multimedia Minister Dr Salleh Said Keruak was quoted as saying that Malaysians choose to pay less for slower Internet speeds instead of spending more on fast connections.

Malaysia’s online market is set to grow to $21 billion by 2025, mainly with ecommerce as a key driver, which would record an expected compound annual growth rate of 24%. However, it is falling behind in investments, despite the country’s promising ecommerce potential. Malaysia is also falling behind in terms of foreign direct investment in the Southeast Asian region, which is mainly going to Singapore and Indonesia.

A version of this appeared in Digital News Asia on July 20. Read the full version here.