WhyQ’s plan to focus on improving their existing products and developing new ones to help small businesses better compete in the digital economy received a boost after it raised $1.4 million (RM4.6million) from the extended Series 2 of its funding round.
The digital innovation startup got the support of Kairos FoodTech Fund of Kairos Capital Group, which also previously invested in Good Meat, Roslin Technologies and Mission Barns. WhyQ also raised $3.6 million during the initial Series 2 round that was participated by Delivery Hero, Chope, Angel Central, and RB Investments and which closed in 2021.
The company said, in a statement, that they will use the additional funding from the extended Series 2 round to continue the expansion of their digitalisation platform and support the growth of small businesses in Singapore and Malaysia.
“Collaborating closely with hawkers in Singapore for the past 5 years has allowed us to understand the challenges that small business owners face when it comes to digitalisation. Leveraging on our experience [in] partnering with small-scale F&B owner-operators like hawkers, we would like to extend our expertise to now help small business owners in Malaysia to digitalise properly, with simple and free products. With key backers and partners such as Kairos, Delivery Hero, Ant Group, Chope, we are in a strong position to lead in the region,” said Varun Saraf, CEO and Co-founder of WhyQ.
At present, WhyQ powers over 20,000 small businesses in Singapore and Malaysia as they provide these with the tools that are needed to
succeed in the digital world. WhyQ offers an eBiz app (WhyQ EBiz) and a digital bookkeeping app (WhyQ Kira Kira) for free to its clients.
Its eBiz app allows MSMEs to create their own online storefronts, connect with popular marketplaces like Foodpanda, accept online payments, and connect with logistics services like Lalamove, in just 60 seconds. The use of the app makes it easy for small businesses to set up a digital presence quickly and easily and start selling online.
Kira Kira, on the other hand, allows SMEs to track their daily transactions, manage their accounts, and apply for low-interest loans from partners like Funding Societies. This digital booking app makes it easy for businesses to stay on top of their finances and access the funding that they need in order to
grow their operations.
Saraf said SMEs are the economic backbone of Southeast Asia that accounts for over 90% of all companies. These also acts as the primary drivers of social mobility.
The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Saraf, increased the demand formore adoption and integration of digital technology among SMEs. However, most of these SMEs continue to face numerous barriers in adopting technology at a critical time of need.
WhyQ is helping SMEs address digitalisation challenges by providing the needed infrastructure and tools to close the digital divide for merchants in SEA, said Eric Cheong, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Kairos Capital Group.
Rishabh Singhvi, COO and Co-Founder of WhyQ said that in Malaysia, small businesses play a crucial role in both the economy and culture. But they struggle to find products that cater to their specific needs.
The problem, Singhvi said, has intensified since the pandemic, thus making it more important than ever for small businesses to adapt the online world of commerce. Being one of the market leaders in Malaysia, WhyQ closes the digital gap for tens of thousands of merchants as they also pave the way for
access to more comprehensive and accessible digital infrastructure.
This 2023, WhyQ plans to add more features to its eBiz app like customisable templates for online storefronts and the integrations with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada. WhyQ also wants to partner with more logistics providers and payment gateways to give SMEs more options for fulfilling orders and accepting payments.
Also, they plan to enhance their digital bookkeeping app by adding new features like automatic sales & expense categorisations, inventory management, and bill payments and continue to expand their network of lending partners to provide more options for small businesses seeking low-interest and quick loans.