Jakarta-based foodtech startup Qraved announced earlier today that it has closed a US$8 million series B round of funding co-led by US-based Richmond Global Ventures and Gobi Partners from Shanghai. New investor GWC participated in the round, as did existing backers Convergence Ventures, 500 Startups, Toivo Annus, and M&Y Partners.
Qraved’s funding round comes conveniently during the Indonesian government’s trip to Silicon Valley, and as such, Indonesia’s tech minister Rudiantara will witness Qraved sign the investment documents at 500 Startups’ Mountain View office later today. In Jakarta, Qraved competes with names like Zomato, Makanluar, and Indotable.
Qraved co-founder and CEO Steven Kim tells Tech in Asia, “In the past 18 months there has been a significant amount of news in the foodtech space, with players mentioning their expansion plans [into] Indonesia. Yet they have not been successful […] with this round, Qraved will be focusing on Indonesia, making it the largest commitment for Indonesia in the space even compared to global or regional players. It will only get more difficult for new entrants due to the uniqueness of the market.”
Qraved’s series B round comes just weeks after local foodtech startup Abraresto went bust and couldn’t pay its employees, calling into question the future of food-driven startups in Jakarta. While Qraved has long been hailed as Indonesia’s “number one food discovery service” in the archipelago, it hasn’t been smooth sailing the entire time. In the beginning, the startup focused solely on table reservations. It later became evident to the team, however, that Qraved would need to offer more if it hoped to thrive.
Go ahead. It’s only food porn.
Last June, Steven told Tech in Asia the startup was unpacking its business model to no longer focus purely on table reservations. Instead of exclusively targeting users that wanted to make restaurant bookings, Qraved would also recreate itself as more of an online community for foodies, with its own app and a regularly-updated food blog called Qraved Journal.
The move seemed to work out in terms of traffic, as Qraved was able to clock more than 1.8 million verified monthly visits on desktop and mobile in September. Today, Steven says Qraved has more than 1 million monthly active users, which he notes are not the same as visits. The site still offers table bookings; however, subscriptions and app downloads are now also likely tools for measuring Qraved’s user activity.
Qraved offers a restaurant directory, which covers more than 25,000 venues in Jakarta and Bali. The app combines venue search and discovery features, user generated reviews, ratings, and photos, as well as discount offers at participating restaurants.
Euromonitor says Indonesians spend over US$30 billion at food venues annually. In recent years, dining out and delivery services have represented the fastest growing verticals in the food and beverage categories. Restaurants have benefited from a dining boom as Indonesia’s young and increasingly affluent consumer class looks for new venues in which to socialize and enjoy life. The Qraved app aims to help restaurants attract customers and build awareness in the community.
Emerging market food smarts
“Food related behavior is highly variable even within an individual,” says Steven. “The importance is frequent dependency on the platform. We cover all parts of the cycle from discovery and inspiration to finding information and eventually making a reservation, getting discounts or potentially making a transaction.”
David Frazee, managing partner at Richmond Global Ventures says, “Steven impressed us with his passion and grit to build a full-stack, foodtech business for Indonesia and beyond.” Thomas Tsao, managing partner at Gobi Partners adds, “Through its leading food discovery service, Qraved has found a new way to address the timeless question of ‘What’s for dinner?’”
Qraved is Richmond’s first investment in Southeast Asia. Steven says he is confident the firm can bring more to the table than just writing a check as Richmond has also invested Restorando, one of the largest restaurant reservation sites in Latin America.
The fresh capital will go toward building out Qraved’s mobile and web apps with new features, expanding the firm in Indonesia, and of course, a marketing ramp-up. Steven believes this is just the beginning for Qraved. He says, “With this round, users in Indonesia, whether it be dine-in our dine-out, will be able to fully find what they want on Qraved.”
Do you think Qraved can corner the market for food discovery and inspiration in Indonesia and Southeast Asia? Following this round, will more foreign investors take an interest in Indonesia?
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