HappyFresh hits Thailand

Grocery delivery app HappyFresh has launched in Thailand, with further expansion into Taipei planned for this month.

The app made its debut in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta in March. Next on its expansion program are Manila in October, followed by Surabaya and other cities in Indonesia.

The company’s co-founder and COO Benjamin Koellmann told Tech in Asia HappyFresh had been “well-received” since its Thai launch about three weeks ago.  He did not comment on the company’s quantifiable traction to date, but did say HappyFresh is “hiring aggressively to keep up with growth.”

In an effort to differentiate the company from its competition, Koellmann and his partners have also created HappyRecipe, a spinoff of HappyFresh’s core offering. Essentially, HappyRecipe lets users read blog posts to get inspired about cooking, but it also serves up various ready-made recipes from which they can order the specific ingredients and prepare dishes at home.

Benjamin Koellmann, co-founder and COO of HappyFresh.
Benjamin Koellmann, co-founder and COO of HappyFresh.

In Jakarta, this service will compete against fresh startup Black Garlic, a meal-kit delivery service in the capital that sends pre-packaged, portioned, and labeled groceries in a box – a concept similar to Blue Apron in the US, which was recently valued at US$2 billion.

HappyFresh is supported by a seven-figure pre-series A funding round from anonymous investors. The firm sees a great deal of competition in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest market. Arguably, HappyFresh’s most formidable competitor comes in the form of Go-Jek, with its Go-Food delivery service. Go-Jek claims it is taking the approach of building its business as a logistics network first and foremost, then stacking value-added services on top.Benjamin, on the other hand, says he will focus entirely on the in-home cooking and dining experience.

“We are not a logistics or delivery company,” he explains. “We’re a foodtech company focused on groceries. This makes us different and gives us a leg up in our market.”

Some believe HappyFresh only caters to an affluent market segment, as its current grocery store partners are only Ranch Market and Farmer’s Market – two of the most upscale grocery outlets in the archipelago. However, Benjamin says HappyFresh is working to get more mid-priced stores on its partner roster.

In Bangkok, HappyFresh sees direct competition from local supermarket chain Tesco Lotus, which has been offering a delivery service for several years already. Thailand’s Tops supermarket chain also offers its Tops Shop Online, which too includes fresh produce and perishable groceries.

Regardless, Benjamin remains confident about HappyFresh’s Asia expansion. He says, “We want to be the number one online grocery marketplace in this region, so the expansion will continue. We have very strong and experienced local managing directors who run each market with a local team, and they are supported by our headquarters here in Indonesia […] data science and customer insights are at the core of our DNA.”

Editing by Erik Crouch. For more eCommerce and technology news from the Asia region, visit TechInAsia.com

You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.