Digital foodhall operator and food technology company, Zing Ventures (“ZING”), has secured its USD10 million Series A funding round’s lead investor in Tisana Ventures. The funds will be utilised to drive the group’s aggressive regional expansion plan commencing with growing its existing footprint in Malaysia, entering Singapore by Q4 2022 and penetrating the Indonesian market in 2023.
Image above: From right to left: Ehon Chew (CFO), Dr Koh Wee Lit (CTO), Siswanto (Managing Partner) and Manichel Subra (Managing Partner)
With the pandemic accelerating digitalisation and influencing food consumption behaviours, the food delivery, cloud kitchen and digital foodhall segments have grown exponentially. ZING’s unique business model offers a gamechanger to the F&B industry.
ZING’s digital foodhalls are a hybrid of a foodhall and delivery kitchen that empowers F&B brands to thrive in today’s increasingly virtual and digital marketplace. Offering both a physical and virtual marketplace, combined with multi-brand delivery kitchens and catering solutions, F&B brands, through ZING, can leverage on both the increasing demand for delivery and multi-brand dine-in experiences for customers.
According to Co-Founder and CFO of ZING, Ehon Chew, “Our novel approach to this F&B segment has already proven successful in addressing critical market challenges that hamper many F&B businesses from unlocking their full potential. Through ZING’s cutting-edge ecosystem and our customised turnkey solutions, we have since helped many F&B brands overcome conventional expansion struggles and flourish, locally and soon internationally, without the need for exorbitant capital expenditure.”
ZING already has a strong foothold in the Malaysian market with ten (10) digital foodhalls operating and 16 more under development across three (3) main brands – My Virtual Foodhall, TasteHere and United States of Food; each digital foodhall in turn houses up to 40 virtual restaurant brands. This new injection of funds will further augment ZING’s influence in the regional F&B landscape while offering a distinctive F&B experience.
To date, ZING works with over 40 F&B partner brands with notable highlights including Nathan’s Famous, the world-renowned hotdog brand with a 100-year history; Cold Stone Creamery, the popular American ice cream chain; The Majapahit, a renowned restaurant chain in Malaysia; Chagee, the artisanal teahouse concept from China; Tail & Fin, the Poke sensation from Las Vegas; Goobne, the #1 South Korean oven-roasted chicken concept, and Union Artisan Coffee, a renowned cafe chain in Malaysia.
Emphasising ZING’s strategic use of technology to elevate F&B brands, Dr Koh Wee Lit, Co-Founder and CTO of ZING explained, “F&B has always been data rich and information poor. By applying ZING’s advanced data mining techniques, brands are able to better understand their customers. These insights are key to amplifying positive customer experience and raising the bar on customer satisfaction. This is certainly a win-win solution for both consumers and brands.”
“Ultimately, what sets ZING apart is that our technology is interwoven into our operations’ DNA. Together, the ZING team has almost 200 years of combined experience not just in tech development but also in operating F&B brands that have spanned the globe,” Dr Koh added.
The Series A funding will be strategically led by Tisana Ventures, the family office of renowned technopreneur and Oil & Gas (O&G) corporate leader, Mr Zainal Abidin Abdul Jalil. Zainal sports an impressive history serving global operations at ExxonMobil before leading Malakoff, an independent power producer. Zainal currently sits as a Board Member of Dagang Nexchange Berhad (DNex), a service provider in the tech and energy space in Malaysia. He was instrumental in turning DNex (previously known as Time Engineering Berhad) into the juggernaut it is today.
“I believe tech in Southeast Asia is finally getting its time in the spotlight – most recently evidenced by Grab’s and GoTo’s mammoth listings. On the fintech and foodtech fronts, I believe we are only just beginning to see the potential of these segments come to the forefront. With ZING and their novel approach to virtual and physical F&B brand growth, we believe their potential is high and in the long run, they could even achieve similar success on a global scale. Our group’s investment in ZING reflects this confidence and further aligns synergistically with the rest of our diversified portfolio,” commented Zainal.
Crowe Growth Consulting, a member firm of Crowe Global, has been appointed to be the deal manager for the funding rounds. This new round of funding comes on the heels of a successful pre-Series A round which was completed in mid-2021. The pre-Series A investments were participated by The Longfort Group, a regional private equity firm, amongst other investors. These funds formed the catalyst for ZING’s rapid growth within Malaysia despite having, arguably, the world’s strictest pandemic and lockdown measures imposed throughout most of 2021.