RESILIENCE PAYS OFF FOR TOP DJ THROUGH DISTRIBUTION OF LUXURY FOOD
18 Jan 2021, by SEED Ventures
While many settled for less during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Peggy Heng chose the unconventional route of pursuing a dream of starting her own business:- in the F&B industry no less. Atas Palate (the “Company”), a home-based gourmet food-delivery service was borne out of a simple desire to enjoy luxury food at affordable prices.
“Atas” is a Malay word that means "high class".
Instead of less, Atas Palate is now on its way to way more.
An "a-ha!" Moment
During Circuit Breaker that began in April 2020, Peggy, a former international DJ who goes by the moniker “Thy-Dowager”, was forced to accept a severe pay cut. A pull-back in gigs led to a loss in income that affected her not just financially, but her morale hit rock-bottom. But when she received a warm gesture in the form of a gift delivered to her home one day, an “a-ha!” moment struck.
The idea is to send out luxury food to loved ones, to encourage and pamper them. The key is to allow consumers to indulge in fine-dining cuisine at the comfort of their homes, at wholesale prices. Luxury delights such as foie gras, oysters and wagyu beef.
Of course, other than for personal indulgence, the nicely packaged gifts also make for great corporate gifts that corporations can subscribe for their clients.
This idea soon became a roaring success, and the Company was born. From selling a few packages in the first few weeks, orders quickly ballooned to $30,000 in monthly revenue. The Company expects to double their revenue in 2021, via distributing through supermarket chains.
The Company does it via social media, riding on Peggy’s following from her DJ career. This tactic worked and renowned restaurants started dialing in. Within 6 months, the Company landed its first deal with the supermarket giant, NTUC Finest. Throughout the festive period, sales volume increased tremendously and kept Peggy and her team on their toes working round the clock to fulfil orders for a rapidly expanding customer base.
“The thing that keeps me going is my customers. The positive feedback is amazing to me and it feels especially good when they tag us in their social media posts enjoying our food”, as she sums up this interview with an “atas” smile. (haha!)
Peggy hopes to inspire more home-based businesses ("HBB") to take the leap of faith, get out of their comfort zones and strive further.
“With the exponential growth of so many HBBs in Singapore, I hope my story cultivates that level of confidence into people that HBBs are more than just a side income. They can grow to become legitimate businesses that you could be proud of within months. Just put your best foot forward and grind!”
Investor Comes On Board
The Company pitched to SEED Ventures (SV) on its weekly “Ask-a-VC Clinic” (a pitching contest for startups) and the SG-based venture capital company got interested. A deal was quickly ratified for SV to invest in the Company.
Via SV's venture debt fund - VDF1 - the Company received an investment that values it in the 7 digits. Ian Gan, General Partner of VDF1, betted on 2 factors:- “competent founder” and “traction”. SV is prepared to further fund the Company if necessary.
VDF1 is a quick-to-receive, interest-free loan for startups seeking immediate funds to start or grow their companies. Funds are typically disbursed within 5 days. No collaterals or business track-records are required. Startups may also pitch for equity-based investments of up to 6 digits if they have sufficient traction.
Ian said, “Peggy embarked on her beliefs in the midst of a pandemic. The traction she has garnered is testimony of the demand for such services and the investability of Atas Palate. We are confident of this investment and excited of future developments to come”.
Expansion plans for 2021 will include increasing the product range and distribution points. SV may also help promote the products as corporate gifts to its network of businesses.
To keep up with increasing demand, the Company is in the midst of adding manpower and securing additional licenses from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Additional funding from strategic investors may be sought to further its growth.
To help increase the Company’s market share, Ms Elim Chew will advise on the logistics front. Apart from being SV’s Venture Partner, Elim is also Managing Partner of IM Holdings Pte Ltd, an integrated logistics company with 10 international offices specialising in warehousing, supply-chain and last-mile delivery solutions.
For enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
VDF1 details: www.seedventures.biz/vdf1
IM Holding’s website:- https://im-holdings.com/
Social Enterprise Champion Elim Chew Joins SG Venture Capital Company
7 Oct 2020, by SEED Ventures
Prolific social entrepreneur, Elim Chew, has joined SEED Ventures (“SV”) as Venture Partner. Her involvement in the SG-based venture capital company will hone its efforts to groom seed-stage startups in Singapore and the Southeast Asia region.
Do Good, Do More
The founder of SG's iconic street-fashion brand “77th Street” and Chairman of Kingdom Food Group, Elim believes in betting on change-makers. Since 2003, she has launched multiple initiatives to teach them life skills, develop creativity and above all, cultivate entrepreneurial instinct. Because Entrepreneurship equates livelihood.
Naturally, the next step is to partner with a professional setup to do things in a scalable, economically viable and sustainable way.
Trust in the Team
As to why she agreed to accept Chief Executive Officer Ian Gan’s invitation to join SV, Elim boiled her decision down to two things. Firstly, the shared vision of helping Students, Startups and Society (“Triple-S”). Secondly, the chemistry and familiarity with the SV team.
“Elim has the heart and spends time. She has attended every one of SV’s weekly pitching event 'Ask-a-VC Clinic' as VIP judge since it launched in March 2020".
“We are certain her business experience and selfless personal goal to uplift the Triple-S will bring to the next level not only growth for SV's portfolio companies, but also attractive financial returns for investors.” said Ian.
Elim also personally invested into SV to become a shareholder.
Do Good, Do More, Make Money
SV’s next fund of USD20,000,000/- is targeted at accredited and institutional investors. It is expected to launch in mid 2021 with a mandate to invest into 100 startups, especially local startups that have already received validation from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) such as polytechnics and universities.
The targeted fund returns are 2X within 2 to 4 years.
About Elim Chew
Elim sits in over 20 committees and has chaired and co-chaired several public service, youth and community groups including the Programming Committee for *Scape, an iconic youth community space for free expressions supported by MCYS and National Youth Council of Singapore (NYC) and Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) of Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Amongst her long list of accolades, Elim is honoured as a Forbes Asia Hero of Philanthropy in 2010 and 2011. She was bestowed the prestigious Singapore Public Service Medal (PBM), also in 2011.
About SEED VenturesTM
SV is a Singapore-based venture capital company licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
It bets on the Triple-S. While it is sector-agnostic, it has a preference for service companies in the sectors of Professional Services and Edutech. It is co-general partner to VDF1, a fund that offers interest-free loans to startups in exchange for equity.
For enquiries: email@example.com
VDF1 Invests Into Local Manicure Salons
23 Sept 2020, by SEED Ventures
Venture Debt Fund 1 (“VDF1”), a debt-based fund domiciled in Singapore, has invested into local manicure salons, FE the Nail Lounge Pte Ltd and FE Artistry Pte Ltd (“Companies”).
The investment that values the Companies in the 7 digits was made in view of the latter’s stellar track records as well as expansion plans in the pipeline.
Given the Covid19 pandemic climate, some may be skeptical about the timing of such an investment move to invest into brick-and-mortar businesses. VDF1’s co-general partner, Ian Gan, is bullish about the prospects of the Companies in 2021 and beyond due to their established brand-name, loyal clientele around the Central Business District area and beaming financial track records that spanned 13 years.
Co-general partner, Lynn Lin, took into consideration the salons’ resilience in riding through past crises, such as the Global Financial Crisis (“GFC”) in 2008/09 when most local companies were knee-capped when credit was tight.
The Companies survived the GFC and eventually opened more branches over the next few years. Group annual sales grew steadily and exceeded a million dollars every year from 2010, without resorting to bank loans. While growth was impeded in the most part of early 2020, business remained viable and both the founders and investors are confident that business will turn a corner as soon as the crisis is over.
“This is the best time for investors to invest in businesses with sound fundamentals”, says Ian Gan. Lynn Lin adds: “The Companies look forward to creating more jobs as they enter a growth phase in early 2021”.
The Companies have plans to garner more market share in 2021 and beyond. There are also plans to expand product lines by way of providing mobile manicure services where customers can opt for home-manicure services for a fee top-up. Test runs have been promising where it was found many customers, especially those working from home, are willing to pay more for services as it saves them traveling time to get to the physical outlets.
Given the Companies’ established brand name and financial viability, franchising the business is another viable option.
VDF1 is a Singapore-based fund that offers interest-free loans to promising startups in exchange for equity. Its General Partners are SEED Ventures and Reed Capital Partners.
Website: www.seedventures.biz, www.reedcapital.asia
For enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
SEED Ventures secures Capital Markets Services Licence to Provide Venture Capital Fund Management Services
10 Jan 2020, by SEED Ventures
SEED Ventures (“SV”), a venture capital ("VC") company headquartered in Singapore, is pleased to announce it has been granted a Capital Markets Services (“CMS”) licence by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”).
With the CMS licence, SV will be able to invest into startups on behalf of its investors via its Venture Capital Fund Management service.
Ian Gan, founder and Chief Executive Officer of SV, said: “This licence is a significant milestone for SV and further entrenches our role in Singapore as a leading seed-stage VC company. We are delighted to be one of the few VCs to receive approval from the MAS, and we believe this attests to our track record working with startups, management expertise and strength of our business plans to back the region’s startup ecosystem. The licence will enable us to expand our investor base by managing funds from accredited and institutional investors.
Nixon Ng, co-founder of SV, added: “Since 2013, SV has gotten involved with hundreds of startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (“SME”). Accordingly, it is keenly aware of the challenges faced by them, such as garnering market-share and connecting to buyers. It is a lot more than just cutting them cheques. Taking ownership in each investee and spending time with them is critical. The CMS license will enable us the resources to do even more for them”.
Ter Weizhi, Director of SV, sums it up: The next few years ahead will be exciting as SV scales up its investment efforts. Many more entrepreneurs will benefit with SV's involvement. We look forward to bringing them to the next level, and in doing so, generate extraordinary capital gains for our investors.
About SEED Ventures
SV is heavily involved in entrepreneurship activities in Statutory boards and Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore such as National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). It currently has representative offices in 4 regions outside Singapore: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and Manila (Philippines).