CEO Fong Wai Hong laughs that StoreHub—the seven-year old company he co-founded is still labelled “a startup” by certain quarters, although the recent MYR36.9 million (USD8.9 million) second round of funding it received is certainly nothing to laugh about. As is the company’s meteoric rise as a digital innovator in key markets across Southeast Asia.
Founded by Fong, a Malaysian, and Chinese national Li Congyu in 2013 as a simple tablet-based Point of Sale (POS) provider, StoreHub has since expanded to being an omni-channel operating system for SMEs comprising a cloud and tablet-based POS system, smart inventory management system, an e-commerce platform, CRM solution and a QR-code-powered loyalty programme.
Its solutions currently power 14,000 businesses across Southeast Asia, with offices in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and China.
At the grand opening of StoreHub Stadium—its spanking new 27,000sq ft state-of-the-art headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, CEO Fong said, “We started with a guiding vision of a world where relationships are once again central to commerce. We see technology as a facilitator of communities that helps turn transactions into relationships. The work done to date has been about building that, piece by piece, helping businesses do more with what they already have such as data, knowledge and access to their customers.”
Becoming SEA’s next unicorn?
StoreHub’s rapid growth trajectory is in line with Southeast Asia’s booming economy and aided by the region’s 360-million strong connected population. The region’s massive technology-driven shift has also provided a fertile breeding ground for tech-based startups.
For StoreHub, it’s been an exhilarating journey bolstered by a clear vision, solid leadership, unwavering commitment to attention to detail and focus on the customer. It helps that there’s a growing user base and high retention rate (and investor backing, of course).
Speaking of which, the latest injection of MYR36.2 million (USD8.9 million) was led by returning investors Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India, alongside Accord Ventures and a private family office. Vertex Ventures were early investors of startups such as Grab.
In its humble beginnings, StoreHub raised MYR3.4 million (USD850K) in seed funding from Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups and other investors in 2016 and subsequently MYR20 million (USD5.1 million) in Series A in 2018, led by Vertex Ventures and joined by Cradle Seed Ventures, Accord Ventures, and Fintonia Group.
“We’re in it for the long haul. We want to be doing this five, ten, twenty years down the road, even if I may no longer be at the helm,” said Fong. The CEO is said to have his sights on digitising 1 million businesses across the region and that sounds as stretchy a target as it can get. Music to the investors and shareholders’ ears, beyond question. And as the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Perhaps the opening of the StoreHub Stadium—already home to 195 of their 340-off employees dubbed Hubbers is an indication that the next phase of the journey has begun. The company expects the new headquarters, which was six months in the making, to house up to 500 team members from local and international teams. Fong said the space is also part of its long term commitment to investing in their home country as well as help drive Malaysia’s digital agenda.
StoreHub also announced a partnership with Facebook Malaysia where the company’s Beep Cashback loyalty programme will integrate with Facebook Rewards.