PLATFORM BRINGS RESTAURANTS AND FOOD SUPPLIERS TOGETHER
FRESHKET, a new-face winner in DTAC accelerate batch 4, already fantasises of becoming a global hub of fresh food and farm products in five years.
Freshket was founded by Ponglada Paniangwet, 30, who transformed herself from a fresh food supplier to a workflow integrated marketplace for fresh food suppliers and restaurants.
It was born out of her own pain point.
"After two years of being a fresh food supplier, we had only 10 customers, but we spent four hours every night, between 1am and 4am, to supply fresh food products to fill their various orders for their different menus," said Ponglada, chief executive officer of her company.
She saw an opportunity to open a marketplace to match suppliers and restaurants as well as to develop a workflow system to facilitate dealings between suppliers and restaurants.
"That was the idea for Freshket. I had only an idea of what we wanted to be. Thanks to DTAC accelerate for helping us to turn the idea into a real product," she said.
The concept of Freshket is not only acting as a marketplace, but also integrating the workflow into the marketplace.
"Instead of using pen and paper, they can digitise all processes on Freshket," she said.
Freshket was flooded with registrations from 500 restaurants and 100 fresh food suppliers within the first 48 hours of the website's launch.
Now it has 250 restaurants and 100 fresh food suppliers on its platform. During its minimum viable product process, it let both sides be matched on the platform.
In the initial phase, Freshket targets restaurants sized S and SS with one to three branches and an average bill of Bt300 per customer as the early adopters, as well as fresh food suppliers that have their own logistics.
"On the fresh food supplier side, about 60 per cent are food manufactures and farmers, while 40 per cent are fresh food service providers," she said.
In three months, Freshket will expand by acquiring fresh food suppliers without their own logistics. It will partner with a third-party logistics provider.
"We found that we need to improve the user experience, especially how to help make ordering easier than their existing methods.
"They use Line, email and fax to order ingredients," she said.
The platform is being developed with three new features - ordering system, price and quality comparison system and goods receiving system.
They are scheduled to be launched next month when it aims to have 600 buyers and 300 food suppliers on the platform.
Freshket's revenue comes from charging a transaction fee of 2 per cent per order.
It is going to close a seed-round funding deal with investors this month.
The proceeds will be spent on expanding both suppliers and restaurants as well as its exam team from six to eight people.
To achieve the hub dream, it needs to duplicate its model first in Southeast Asia and then the rest of the world.
Domestically, it plans to scale up its capability to serve beyond restaurants to hotels, hospitality operators, food manufacturers and food exporters.
"In the restaurant segment, we will expand services to size L or chains," she said.
Fresh food is a huge market opportunity but it is very complicated.
She is really confident that she understands this industry well since she has more than 25 years of experience with her own family business in the agriculture industry.
"Freshket is not only a marketplace but it also offers workflow for business-to-business.
"It's a huge opportunity and we have potential. But we need to select a focus since this market is very fragmented.
"It's a beauty and a challenge at the same time," she said.