In early March, 11 companies were chosen to receive an investment of RM250,000 (US$61,844) each to grow their business regionally from Scale Up Malaysia and Quest Ventures.
ScaleUp Malaysia’s Cohort 2 key partner, Quest Ventures is a regional venture capital firm based out of Singapore that counts Temasek as one of their key investors. With more than 50 investments under their belt, Quest Ventures’ investments boast regional powerhouses like Carousell, 99.co and Carro.
Head’s Up will be interviewing all 11 chosen startups to discuss further on the challenges they face as a startup to grow regionally and how the investment will impact their journey moving forward.
Next on the list is HOMA2U , an online to offline (O2O) building materials and interior finishes marketplace where you can find a wide range of high quality, branded and bargains materials for your house project.
We speak to Chief Executive Officer, Pennie Lim on their latest milestones, journey and what’s next for the startup.
Can you share more about your startup and what has the journey been like till now?
HOMA is an O2O platform that offers building material and home finishing products at a bargain that focuses on sustainability.
Startup journey is very challenging yet fulfilling. It can be very draining at times but we know that we have a bigger dream and mission to score. Blessed to have a strong team that works towards the same direction and goal.
Were you confident of getting selected to receive the investment?
Yes, we have the confidence that we will secure the investment because we believe in our highly scalable model that will bring many impacts to society in a sustainable way.
How will you be utilising the RM250,000 investment coming from the partnership?
We will be using the RM250,000 entirely for our manless pop-up mobile library, namely Yellow Box. We aimed to expand 10 locations (within Malaysia) by bringing the overstock concept closer to our customers using affiliate partnership. It's a repurposing overstock using over space by our partners (for example: furniture outlets, hardware stores)
What are the challenges a startup like yours face in growing regionally?
We have the technical know-how about our business but the biggest challenge we face would be the diversity of industries practice and culture. In order to grow our business in another country, we will need to look for the like minded partners and team to start off.
Which country do you think holds the biggest potential to market your product?
The entire South East Asia has the opportunity of $40 billion market size for home improvement but we will only be looking at Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia as these markets are growing fast in terms of the Gross Development Value (GDV) and have the tendency to adapt to sustainability, technology and growth.
We are also leveraging the strength with our brand merchants who are already well established in these countries.
The pandemic has proven to be some of the most challenging times for a lot of businesses. How did you overcome the challenges?
We pivoted slightly into more service and building an ecosystem rather than a very product based approach. In the next two years, we are hoping to extend many layers of revenue stream rather than sticking to one at the moment which is profit from products sold.
What opportunities do you think this investment will give rise to for your startup in the long term?
Leveraging the strength and network from the external “management” team to bring us expand regionally, grow strategically and sustainably.
How important do you think these initiatives are for startups in the country?
It’s not so much about the money. It’s about realising our potential prospects and scalability. Being in a startup is already tough, especially during the pandemic.
Thank you ScaleUp team for being there with us whenever we need you.
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