Malaysian AI and Foodtech startup SmartBite raises a fresh round of funding to expand corporate offerings

Malaysian AI and Foodtech startup SmartBite raises a fresh round of funding to expand corporate offerings

SmartBite, an AI-powered food delivery startup catering to working professionals in the Central Business District (CBD) has raised over RM418,000 (approximately US$100,000) via a successful equity crowdfunding campaign on the pitchIN platform. This brings the total investment amount to over RM2.93 million (US$700,000) Previously, SmartBite has raised around US$300,000 from two series of funding and has received a strategic investment from Marna Capital, Rhombus Food Holdings, the founder of Hop Lun, Eric Ryd, Noodles Digital as well as angel investors from Asia and Europe. 

The investment will be used to expand its corporate offerings in catering and employee benefit programmes. The SmartBite programme helps companies manage their F&B requirements for events, meetings and any corporate activity, by providing their platform and support to ensure a simpler and faster way to handle the entire process. Corporates can now directly engage SmartBite instead of having to manage multiple suppliers and vendors for their F&B needs.

Gabriele Fadda, CEO and co-founder of SmartBite, said, “With our success in growing our user base among the working crowd in Kuala Lumpur as well as the feedback and data we have gathered, we identified a gap in the market when it came to corporate solutions for food. We are increasing the bulk of our logistics from delivering meals of 20 pax to almost 1000 pax on a single trip. Not only does it provide stable sales for our restaurant partners, but this expansion of corporate offerings also provides a one-stop solution for companies and their employees to get great food delivered affordably and conveniently right to their office.” 

Food as Fuel: Boosting employee engagement with meal plans and catering solutions

SmartBite will introduce a catering solution that leverages on its existing technology to help manage large corporate food orders. SmartBite works with Human Resources departments to give them access to the logistics and management tools within SmartBite so that employees can receive similar or better benefits without the hassle of manually setting up logistics and working with numerous vendors to create variety. 

The new corporate service will help reduce man-hours required and manage costs as the customer scales from small SME businesses to offices with thousands of employees. The SmartBite platform can efficiently manage logistics without impacting the employee experience.

SmartBite will also be working with HR departments to offer a daily allowance on the platform as part of employee benefit programmes. Food is one of the top perks that corporate employees value. Offering a daily allowance on a platform such as SmartBite can be an inexpensive way to provide employee benefits to keep them engaged at work. As SmartBite is capable of delivering a variety of individual food options to the office at the same time, this also allows for employees to eat lunch together. The time saved from braving the walkout to get lunch could be used to build friendships and improve team dynamics. 

The Smart Approach to Food Delivery 

Gabriele Fadda added, “Since the inception of SmartBite, we grew to better understand both the psychology of a corporate employee in the business districts as well as unit economics of food delivery. These lessons learned have definitely helped us fine-tune our business model and we are now achieving a daily average gross profit margin of 15% to 20%. By leveraging on technology such as AI and machine learning, SmartBite is dedicated to simplifying how working professionals eat and helping them save time and money.” 

Since May 2017, SmartBite offers an innovative approach to food delivery and is built around the needs and behaviours of working professionals within the CBD. Its online platform is powered by artificial intelligence (A.I.) that curates a rotating daily selection of meals based on key data points such as past purchase behaviour and market trends. Unlike the commonly used model of on-demand and point-to-point food delivery, SmartBite delivers a curated list of meals on a fixed time-slot. This allows delivery personnel to deliver bulk orders according to office buildings. 

As meals are delivered on a fixed time-slot, restaurant partners would be able to prepare these forecasted meals in advance, thereby eliminating unpredictability in inventory management and increasing productivity during off-peak hours. Restaurant partners will enjoy stable sales while SmartBite customers can enjoy better service, food quality and cost savings without any minimum order or delivery charge. SmartBite is expected to experience 70-100% growth this year.