FOOD & BEVERAGE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Chope secures $13m in recent funding

The fund will be used to invest in a more feature-packed, all-in-one Chope platform.

Singapore-based restaurant discovery and booking platform Chope recently raised $13m in funding backed by Asia-Pacific investment firm Square Peg Capital and joined by C31 Ventures and Moelis Australia, as well as existing shareholders including NSI Ventures, Susquehanna International Group, DSG Consumer Partners, and SPH Ventures.

Arrif Ziaudeen, CEO of Chope, said, “Chope looks forward to our next stage of growth with this new capital and strategic partnership. With these resources, we are positioned to invest significantly in our USPs of user experience and customer service, while deepening our reach into our markets across Asia.”

Ziaudeen noted that more than 1 million diners are using the Chope app to book restaurants.

Whilst that is a heartening number, the startup is now seeking to grow its business scope by increasing new product and technology investments, and hiring more staff. This means restaurants can look forward to a more feature-packed, all-in-one Chope platform for their business needs.

“We’re looking to tap on the potential to touch numerous other facets of those diners’ user journeys,” he said.

 “As for the specifics, we’ll share more as the features are released but at high level, it’s about building more ways for users to discover, book, and interact on Chope, better use of the huge amounts of data we have to personalise the experience, and a larger team to better service our clients and users.” Ziaudeen explained that constantly adding utility is a natural extension of Chope’s vision to provide a holistic experience and increasing value to diners and restaurants.

One-stop destination
Ziaudeen continues to hold its big dream for Chope - to make it a one-stop destination for discovery, deals and bookings - six years after the Stanford-educated founder quit his career in private equity and consulting to solve the frustrating inefficiency of reservations on both sides of the transaction.

He himself had encountered similar problems of calling for reservations, having to wait until restaurants opened to reserve and unanswered calls. To top it off, other activities such as booking airline flights, hotel accommodations and movie tickets could already be done online.

Seeing the need for more efficient reservation and the potential to revolutionise the restaurant industry with technology, Ziaudeen began tackling the issue by launching the first version of the Chope reservations platform with just nine restaurants.

The founder risked his savings and sought financial help from his family, and in the first few years this bootstrapping approach meant Chope could only support a lean team and sparse marketing. Fast forward to today, and the startup is making bolder moves to expand in other countries, including last year’s acquisition of an Indonesian booking app to enter the local market and increase its coverage to eight cities.

“One of our aims was to keep costs low so Chope's early days was spent operating out of Orchard Towers,” recalled Ziaudeen fondly. “Besides having some of the best Vietnamese noodles around, the building also had a somewhat deserved reputation for being a hotbed of seedy activity.”

“Our office was right smack in the middle of the action, which made life...interesting. We can't say we miss it much, though.” 

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