Singapore based and venture backed food technology startup Grain has fed thousands of happy customers delicious and wholesome meals, delivered in a few simple clicks.
Yi Sung Yong, Co-founder and Head of Product, recently talked to Simmonds Stewart about his company and how he has found working with Simmonds Stewart on their first capital raise.
the grain story
With backgrounds in management consulting and previous experience in IT startups, the 4 founders of Grain (Sung, Rifeng Gao, Isaac Tam and Ernest Sim, all recently named in the Forbes Asia 30 under 30 list) wanted to start a new and ambitious business in 2014, so they settled on changing the future of food delivery.
Since its recent beginnings, Grain is now described as a restaurant in the cloud and Uber for food in Singapore. It provides a convenient web and app delivery service for affordable and tasty food that is also good for you, offering 4 different meals each day which rotate weekly. Customers in the busy Singapore areas don’t pay for delivery and have no minimum spend.
After securing significant Series A funding, they now have major plans to offer more meals, improve operational efficiency by adding mobile distribution hub vans, increase headcount namely on the developer side and eventually to expand the business into China, including Hong Kong, and also Indonesia.
Sung says that given the diversity of food and size of the global industry, competition in the food market is building but there is still plenty of opportunity in the market. Whilst food delivery giant Food Panda largely dominates the South East Asian food delivery scene, acting as a middleman between restaurants and hungry consumers, Grain differentiates itself by offering a complete full stack food service. The entire supply chain is produced and controlled by them from one Singapore site, from the website and app business to cooking and delivery.
He also notes that whilst establishing a business and raising funds can be stressful, post-funding, hiring, onboarding and ongoing people management is their biggest challenge as they continue to grow.
working with simmonds stewart
Sung’s previous experience of lawyers was that they were slow moving and traditional type lawyers that did not understand the pace of startup life.
For their first capital raise, Grain were referred to Simmonds Stewart partner Lee Bagshaw through 500 Startups managing partner Khailee Ng, along with another Singaporean law firm. The referral happened on a Thursday, Lee got in touch immediately via WhatsApp and the term sheet was ready to go on the Friday. Grain did not receive a response from the other firm until the following Monday at which point the deal was well and truly on its way.
Sung says that it was Simmonds Stewart’s speed and execution, WhatsApp versus long emails, moving like a startup that impressed him the most.
Simmonds Stewart went on to assist Grain implement several convertible notes to secure short term bridge financing and raise of SG$2,500,000 for their Series A funding round, including investment from NSI Ventures, 500 Startups, Digital Media Partners and Ivan Lee (who founded and sold Thai Express in Singapore).
In addition to maintaining the startup pace and charging extremely reasonable legal fees, Sung really appreciated that Simmonds Stewart drafted the documents from a founder’s versus lawyer’s perspective, ensuring the documents reflected Grain’s commercial motives without overkill on the legal jargon; Lee just got everything we thought we required and also pointed out the things we didn’t know we needed.
Given Grain have already delivered over 100,000 meals to ravenous Singapore residents alone, it’s looking likely that this startup will continue to eat up the market. Simmonds Stewart will certainly be ready to move at speed for what seems like an inevitable growth and success.