Chope bags SG$18m in funding, to invest heavily in innovations

Dining discovery and reservations app Chope has secured a SG$18 million investment and plans to use the funds to build better products, enlist a larger sales force and boost customer support.

The company will also invest heavily in more innovations to remain competitive in the food and beverage industry, such as carrying out research and development on cashless payments, artificial intelligence and social dining. The fundraising was led by Square Peg Capital and joined by C31 Ventures and Moelis Australia. Existing shareholders including SPH Ventures, NSI Ventures, Susquehanna International Group and DSG Consumer Partners were also involved in the fundraising.

In a statement to Marketing, Chope's spokesperson said the company aims to expand its business scope beyond purely reservations to the full dining experience, by building more ways for users to discover, book and interact on Chope. The company is also looking to better use the huge amounts of data it has to personalise consumers' experiences and increasing manpower to better service its clients and users.

The spokesperson added that it is looking to expand into other countries in the long run, but as of now, it is more focused on growing existing markets, where most of the funds will be channelled to. Most of Chope's marketing initiatives and campaigns are designed and executed in-house.

"One of the biggest lessons we've learned is that no two markets are alike. While there are similarities, diners respond strongly to different initiatives in different markets, which is why the strategy of localisation is something we've employed and continue to champion. For example, loyalty is a big draw in Singapore, while diners respond best to deals in Bangkok," the spokesperson said.

In April 2016, Chope acquired MakanLuar, its Indonesian equivalent, expanding its reach to Jakarta, Bali and Bandung. According to Arrif Ziaudeen, CEO of Chope, MakanLuar was gaining "impressive traction" and Chope saw "obvious opportunities" to further increase its competitiveness in the industry with Chope's technology, marketing and support.

Given diners' familiarity with the name in Indonesia, Chope did not change the name immediately after the acquisition of the company. However, it has been slowly phasing out the "MakanLuar" brand, which will cease to exist within the year, Chope's spokesperson said. "MakanLuar" founders Kunal Narang and Hiro Mohinani currently head Chope Indonesia.

Chope works with over 3,000 food and beverage clients such as Bakerzin, Bangkok Jam and Blue Lotus, across Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China, Indonesia and Thailand. Its app offers users with real-time information on restaurant discovery, reservations, discounts and payments.

"Chope looks forward to our next stage of growth with this new capital and strategic partnership. With these resources, we are positioned to invest significantly in our USPs of user experience and customer service, while deepening our reach into our markets across Asia," Ziaudeen said.