Startup events helped HungryGoWhere secure the SingTel acquisition
May 28, 2012 by Terence LEE
The congenial work relationship between both HungryGoWhere and the InSing.com team was a key factor in the co-founders’ decision to join SingTel.
InSing.com is a lifestyle portal operated by the telecommunications company, covering food, shopping, events, travel, and more. Both sites’ food channels have a combined two million visitors a month.
“We know the people working in the inSing team. When they started off we actually helped with a couple of building blocks. So we know them from day one. The personal chemistry was there, and there was a high level of comfort,” said Yung Yih, who started HungryGoWhere, in a conference call between SGE and all three co-founders.
Despite being part of a large organization, the InSing.com team has been participating in different startup-related events.
It helps that the startup community is closely knit, facilitating networking and the exchange of ideas.
“These events has helped us to build these relationships,” said Yung Yih, ”you’ll notice that inSing is very startup-ish in its culture and worldview. For a lack of a better word, it’s very dot-com-ish.”
Synergy between both companies heavily influenced their decision as well, said co-founder Hoong An. SingTel can help accelerate the development and regional expansion of TableDB, an online restaurant reservation and management system — and HungryGoWhere’s latest product.
SingTel’s R&D and marketing capabilities, as well as inSing.com’s expertise on editorial content, are valuable to the founders too.
Fans of HungryGoWhere can be rest assured that the website will continue operating. The team is looking at integrating inSing.com deeply with the food portal and improving the mobile consumer’s experience, although the details and roadmap isn’t finalized yet.
So, unlike acquisitions that ultimately resulted in the death of the product that was procured, the co-founders and many of the staff will join the inSing.com team to preserve and improve on the HungryGoWhere brand name.
The rest will integrate with other teams within SingTel to polish up its digital offerings.
Dennis Goh, the third co-founder, added that Singapore will be used as a testbed for TableDB. He will be in charge of coming up with the strategy for the product’s regional expansion.
An interesting value proposition that the system could offer would be the ability to draw tourists and international traffic to improve top-line revenue for restaurants.
This TableDB-on-steroids would certainly pile the pressure on ReserveIt.sg and Chope, currently the market leaders for online restaurant reservations in Singapore.
While the partnership between both parties may seem like an inevitability due to their close relationships, Yung Yih emphasized to fellow entrepreneurs the important of keeping options open and remaining close to different people.
“You never know where one conversation leads you. Don’t do this with the intention of a buyout though. The idea is that you must always be networking and building up your relationships,” he said.
That includes networking with a higher power, whatever that may be.
“Just keep praying and hope that you have good partners like Dennis and Hoong An,” says Yung Yih.
“We can’t say the same about Yung Yih,” joked Hoong An.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE