The partnership will be among the first of its kind between Malaysia and New Zealand, and is expected to open the door to future collaborations in the start-up ecosystem for both countries.
Back in 2015, co-founders Woei Siang Limi (pictured, right) and Vincent Wong (pictured, centre) took their already-established business—Food Ninja—to Bootcamp, with a view to learning how to run it in a smarter way. Since then, they have continued to grow their brand in Wellington but, with plans to expand into other regions and countries, not to mention the emergence of several copycat competitors, the young entrepreneurs were looking for ways to upscale their operations and maintain their first-in-market advantage.
“Technology plays a big part in the food delivery business,” says Siang, “so that’s where we saw our opportunity.” He says their original plan was to hire developers to build bespoke tech but: “not only would it have been too expensive, there is no way a single developer’s experience would have been as extensive, or as proven, as GLN’s.”
Siang says that GLN’s depth of experience with software algorithms will give Food Ninja operational efficiencies which can be scaled up as the business grows. Without giving too much away, a new customer app will automate much of the ordering process, making it easier and faster to order, while a supporting back-end app will increase the speed and efficiency of delivery to improve the overall customer experience.
Sebastian Tan (pictured, left), GLN’s Chief Executive Officer, says it’s a win-win partnership: “We’ve wanted to break into the Oceania market for some time now—particularly New Zealand, as we see vast potential for the adoption of new apps here over the next five to 10 years. Any profits we make from the Food Ninja partnership will be reinvested into New Zealand as we seek to grow our other operations here.”
GLN believes it is leading the world with its approach to digitising business, and computer giant Hewlett Packard (HP) would no doubt agree. “As HP’s channel management partner in Malaysia, we developed an app that helps them to manage their supply chain with ease,” Sebastian says. “It enables them to view their stock and sales figures anywhere in the country, at any given moment in time—and even calculate dealer incentives.”
Introduced through a mutual friend, Sebastian and the Food Ninja team are excited about working together. “Siang and Vincent are smart, committed businessmen,” says Sebastian. “They know what they want, and then they go out and get it. I’m really looking forward to working with such strong, entrepreneurial attitudes.”
Siang is equally complimentary: “this is a fantastic opportunity for us, and not just on a tech level, because Sebastian is a really successful businessman. We are going to learn so much from him about growing our business into new areas.”
He admits that Food Ninja’s entrepreneurial journey has not been an easy one. “It’s hard to start a business for the first time,” says Siang. “We needed all the support we could get, so having people like our early investors and Viclink to stand beside us while we worked to establish our market in the beginning, has been invaluable. And now we’re ready to take it to the next level with the support of GLN!”
Photo credit: Linda Palmer-Scott