Grain (company)

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Grain
Formerly
FitFuel
IndustryOnline food ordering
Founded2014
Founders
  • Yi Sung Yong
  • Ernest Sim
  • Rifeng Gao
  • Isaac Tan
Headquarters
Area served
Singapore
Number of employees
90-100
WebsiteOfficial website

Grain is an online food ordering company that offers online catering and food delivery services to the Singapore market through its website and mobile application.

History[edit]

Grain was jointly founded in 2013 by four co-founders - Yong Yi Sung, Ernest Sim, Gao Rifeng, and Isaac Tan - and initially launched as a personalized meal subscription service[1]. The company touted itself as a healthy meal alternative for customers in the Singapore CBD and Orchard areas, with aiming to introduce “healthier, fuss free, and unique fares” to the food industry.

In May 2014, it was relaunched as an on-demand service that allows customers to order for same-day delivery in Marina Bay. This initial model required customers to share their preferences and plot out their meals a week in advance; this proved difficult because their team of chefs were forced to create many different variations of dishes in a single day. The new on-demand service was designed to better meet customer needs by allowing them to order any number of items between a certain time frame. The order would then be delivered to the customer. As of 2016, delivery is available to any location in Singapore[2].

Grain's current goal is to serve health- and taste-conscious food to time-pressed consumers. The menu, which rotates every quarter, is designed by in-house chefs, and the platform features shared meals for groups, as well as meal boxes and other items that include sides, desserts, and drinks. All food is prepared and packed inside Grain’s own facilities, then delivered by couriers on cars, bikes, bicycles or on foot[3]. Users order food via the website or mobile application through a standard e-commerce platform process.

Besides individual meals, the company also serves buffet catering for corporate events and parties. These dishes are also developed by their R&D team and chefs.[4]

Funding and Growth[edit]

In January 2016, Grain secured an estimated SG$2.45 million (US$1.70million) in a series A funding round led by Openspace Ventures (formerly NSI Ventures). Other initial investors included 500 Startups, Digital Media Partners, and Thai Express founder Ivan Lee.[5]

In December 2016, the company raised an undisclosed amount in pre-series B funding in another round also led by Openspace Ventures. This round included existing investors DMP and Ivan Lee while also gaining the support of Wee Teng Wen of the Lo & Behold Group. At the same time, Grain also raised an undisclosed amount in venture debt from DBS Bank[6] In this same year, the four co-founders of Grain were featured in the 2016 edition of Forbes 30 under 30[7]

In 2017, while planning for its next funding round, Grain stated explained that it had tripled its investment in technology, growing 330 per cent in sales as a result. These decisions improved gross profits by more than 10 per cent[8]. In February 2018, Grain secured another undisclosed sum[9] from investors that included Majuven, a venture capital fund founded by Lee Hsien Yang. Other new backers included FoodXervices and First Gourmet; previous investors Openspace, Ivan Lee and 500 Startups were also involved.

In a Series B funding round led by Thailand's Singha Ventures, Grain raised US$10 million to improve existing infrastructure and expand to other Asian cities, beginning with Bangkok[10]. Singha Ventures is the venture capital fund of Singha Corporation, a Thai conglomerate that produces the Singha beverage. The company's presence in the food and beverage (F&B), packing and property sectors will be leveraged to support Grain's expansion in the country. Other investors participating in the round include Genesis Alternative Ventures, Sassoon Investment Corp, Ozi Amanat/K2 Global, FoodXervices and Majuven.

According to a study conducted by The Straits Times and Statista, the 2019 funding round and business growth has made Grain fifth among Singapore’s fastest-growing companies[11]

Hygiene lapse[edit]

On 15 May 2017, Grain experienced a lapse in hygiene that caused 20 customers to become affected with gastroenteritis. After an internal investigation, the lapse was found to be caused by a reduction in simmer time for their Thai Green Curry dish, a change which resulted in the dish “spoiling quicker than usual”. The NEA responded by adjusting Grain’s food hygiene from “A” to “C”[12].

Yong Yi Sung, Grain’s CEO, released a statement of apology, explaining that when the issue was discovered, the dish was removed to avoid further harm.[12] To rectify the issue, Grain worked closely with the NEA, the Ministry of Health, and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore,[12] and as of August 2019, it has regained the "A" grade for food hygiene.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liu, Sarah (May 21, 2014). "Time-pressed and hungry? S'pore new food startup Grain brings you a healthy surprise". Vulcan Post. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Lee, Terence (August 15, 2014). "In 15 minutes, Grain delivers piping hot, healthy food to a driveway near you". TechinAsia. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Russell, Jon (January 1, 2016). "Singapore's Grain Eats Up $1.7M For Its 'Full-Stack' Food Delivery Service". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Abudheen, Sainul (February 8, 2018). "Singapore's foodtech startup Grain raises pre-Series B funding from Majuven, others after clocking 330 per cent growth". e27. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Lee, Terence (January 14, 2016). "Food delivery startup Grain gets funding from NSI, 500 Startups, DMP, Thai Express founder". Tech in Asia. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  6. ^ Abudheen, Sainul (December 28, 2016). "Grain raises funding from NSI, DBS to expand its food delivery business beyond Singapore". e27. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Forbes 30 under 30". Forbes. 2016. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Abudheen, Sainul (February 8, 2018). "Singapore's foodtech startup Grain raises pre-Series B funding from Majuven, others after clocking 330 per cent growth". e27. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Lee, Terence (February 8, 2018). "Online restaurant gets money from fund managed by SingPost's ex-chairman". Tech in Asia. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  10. ^ "Singapore food delivery start-up Grain bags US$10m for expansion". Straits Time Singapore. May 10, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "No Pain, No Grain: This S'pore Food Tech Startup Just Raised US$10M, Now Expanding To BKK". MSN. May 10, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Lam, Lydia (July 15, 2017). "Grain apologises for spoilt curry that gave 20 people gastroenteritis, its hygiene grade dropped from 'A' to 'C'". Straits Times. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  13. ^ track record last updated 27 aug (PDF) (Report). Singapore Food Agency. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.

External links[edit]