Digerati50: For Tham Keng Yew of SupplyBunny, the journey has been of errors made, classes learnt, relationships constructed


  • Classes are extra precious after they come from personal failures
  • Purpose is to enhance as an alternative of complaining another person took away enterprise

in article 1

Digital Information Asia (DNA) continues its sequence that profiles 50 influencers who’re serving to form Malaysia’s Digital Economic system, from Digerati50 2020-2021 (Vol 4), a particular biennial print publication launched in July 2020. The digital copy could be downloaded from the sidebar hyperlink.

The next in an expanded model of the article which first appeared in print version in June 2020.

Engaged on his third startup, Supplybunny.com, a procurement platform for F&B companies launched in 2016, Tham Keng Yew felt that his 8-years as an entrepreneur, with the teachings learnt, would assist him determine a lot of the nuances of driving the wild startup waves and achieve success this time.

And it gave the impression to be working. Whereas not a runaway success, up until 17 March 2020, earlier than Malaysia’s Motion Contril Order (MCO) was enforced, Tham was serving over 2,000 eating places within the Klang Valley, all of the whereas refining and bettering his procurement platform to reside as much as the imaginative and prescient “to scale back the variety of tollgate middlemen” that marked-up the worth of merchandise with out including any worth to the availability chain.

“There are a complete of 70,000 retail small and medium enterprise meals companies in Kuala Lumpur with no chief and no monopoly available in the market as of now,” stated Tham, relishing the prospect of changing into the market chief. However then the pandemic hit and in a single day he misplaced 60% of gross sales.

However much more wonderful was that, as an alternative of hoping for a brief lockdown interval, Tham and his staff swung into motion straight away to construct a shopper pushed wholesale grocery website – in 24-hours. Spectacular, contemplating Supplybunny makes and grows nothing of its personal. Tham needed to persuade suppliers to purchase into the in a single day shift in enterprise route.

Fortuitously the digital revolution was already underway with a majority of conventional companies acknowledging they needed to adapt despite the fact that the urgency to adapt was not there but. “It was once that I needed to persuade 80% of them in regards to the worth of digitisation however now nearly 100% of them are keen to go digital,” he recollects of that interval, proper after the primary MCO was declared.

On account of this mindset shift Tham and his staff had been capable of persuade and educate suppliers on methods to ship to condominiums and homes as an alternative of to eating places, cafes and residential kitchens. To make sure well timed supply, he employed his personal drivers as effectively.

The consequence? Grocery gross sales shot up. “Individuals had been making an attempt to avoid wasting they usually didn’t thoughts shopping for in bulk to avoid wasting.”

Suppliers even began to create packages and bundles to go well with shopper necessities. He now has 200 suppliers and 11,000 inventory maintaining items (SKUs) on the platform.

Are gross sales sustainable although? Particularly after the MCO is totally lifted? For a glimpse of Malaysian shopper behaviour, Tham appears to be like to China the place there’s a 60% retention of on-line grocery buying, post-pandemic. He expects to see the same sample right here.

“Now we have made the choice to pivot in the direction of wholesale groceries enterprise catering to B2C and B2B,” he stated, aspiring to breakeven by yr finish and switch worthwhile in Q1 of 2021.

With a lot of the native market to faucet, Tham admits regional growth will not be a precedence. As an alternative, he’s centered on the purpose of gaining a extra dominant place by capturing about 20% of the Klang Valley market.

Whereas most founders are very happy to magnify how their product and providers are superior to the competitors, Tham is extra grounded and candid when requested about comparable platforms available in the market. “I don’t assume any of us are completely different at this level. I inform my staff to verify we’re doing a greater job. We’re higher off making an attempt to enhance ourselves as an alternative of complaining another person took our enterprise.”

4 years into Supplybunny, and with greater than a decade’s expertise as a battle-hardened startup entrepreneur now, Tham has so much to replicate upon. “The teachings are extra precious after they come from my failures,” he admits candidly. In his first startup promoting tickets on-line in 2008, he barely knew methods to be a reliable CEO, lead a staff, increase funds and construct precious relationships. He now feels he has a greater deal with on issues.

“My lead developer at the moment was an intern at my first startup. My buyers that had been there to again me from that first enterprise, they proceed to again me at the moment. It could sound like I did this in a single day, however it’s the buildup of years of constructing a number of errors, classes learnt and relationships constructed,” he shared.

Digerati50 2020/2021 is proudly sponsored by Maxis – Powering Malaysia’s 5G period.



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