PETALING JAYA: The fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing movement control order (MCO) have driven many businesses to their knees. Many, particularly those in the business-to-business (B2B) segment, find it imperative to adopt digital solutions to transform their offline activities in order not to lose out on any sales opportunities, according to B2B wholesale marketplace platform, Dropee.
Its co-founder and CEO, Lennise Ng (pix), observed that under these conditions, many brands, wholesalers and distributors are looking for ways to reduce their expenses and still maintain quality of service to their retail customers.
“Dropee enables them to save up to 30% of their operational costs that typically go into processing manual paperwork and managing customers offline,” she told SunBiz, adding that Dropee also does the work of vetting and verifying suppliers on the platform.
The suppliers are also able to utilise the platform to continue trading with their existing customers as well as engaging new retail customers.
On the flip side, retail customers looking to source from new suppliers can easily reach out to thousands of verified suppliers on Dropee’s marketplace
Since its inception in 2017, the platform has expanded to support over 2,000 suppliers and served more than 20,000 retailers.
Ng shared that between 2017 and 2019, the startup’s revenue grew more than 800%. However, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dropee, like many other startups, has projected conservative growth for 2020.
“The changing landscape of the number of suppliers and retailers affected due to Covid-19 will impact our growth strategy,” she said.
Ng disclosed that part of Dropee’s strategy going forward is to establish key partnerships with ecosystem players, particularly in the financing and logistics space, to accelerate its customers’ digitisation process.
The co-founder said it has optimised its onboarding process for the MCO period, which has been well received by businesses that are quick to adopt digitalisation.
“This year, we are focusing on growing our value for existing businesses and working with new customers who aim to digitally transform their B2B businesses from offline to online,” she said.
Dropee’s potential has not gone unnoticed, as it has managed to attract a joint investment from Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (Mavcap) and Vynn Capital in its seed funding round in 2019.
Mavcap’s acting CEO, Shahril Anas, shared that he recognised the startup’s strong potential, as it fills a unique niche in the retail sector through its innovative online marketplace.
Meanwhile, Vynn Capital’s managing partner, Victor Chua, said the company fits its criteria of long term and sustainable opportunities.
He pointed out that Dropee’s partnership with financial institutions indicated that even the most traditional businesses see the value in the startup.
“On top of that, we are now definitely seeing how Dropee is empowering small retailers, especially during this trying time. Dropee is a catalyst for the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and what is coming next.”
Chua explained that the startup is part of Vynn Capital’s investment strategy of long-term trends that it believes to be resilient through recessions and help empower economies to the next level.
“In fact, if given more capacity and capital, we would definitely double down on our investments and push further with the same investment strategy,” he said.
He observed that Dropee empowers traditional industries and leapfrogs them into the digital landscape and with further expansion, Dropee stands to become even more relevant and important for multiple industries.
To help the B2B platform grow, Shahril explained, Mavcap not only assists its investee companies through funding but also additional value by providing guidance on all aspects of the business to help strengthen the business model, as well as instil good governance and transparency.