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Type of site
Privately held company
Founded23 July 2015; 7 years ago (23 July 2015)
DissolvedJuly 2020 (2020-07)
Area servedSingapore, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Taipei, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila, Tokyo
OwnerHonestbee Pte. Ltd.
Created byJoel Sng, Isaac Tay, Jonathan Low
ServicesGrocery delivery, food delivery, laundry delivery, parcel delivery
Employees860 (2019) [1]

Honestbee (stylised as honestbee) was an online grocery and food delivery service as its core business, a concierge service, and also a parcel delivery service for its B2B clients.[2] The company provided personal shoppers that pick products for its clients.[3][4] Consumers utilized the company's mobile app or website to interface with the company, and the store pickers and retail stores also utilized the mobile app.[5][6] In Singapore, honestbee also provided laundry collection services.[4]


The company was launched in Singapore on 23 July 2015 [7] and after that time also launched in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangkok, Philippines and Japan.[2][5][8][9][10][11][12][13] The company was founded by Joel Sng, Isaac Tay, and Jonathan Low and had backing from venture capital companies in Asia and the United States.[14]

In 2018, honestbee launched an online and offline grocery store in Singapore called Habitat, which aimed for "more human engagement" for shoppers.[15] Since 10 Feb 2020, the company closed Habitat due to reduced footfall on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.[16] As of 9 Mar 2020, Habitat remained closed and the company considered a permanent closure of Habitat due to heavy overhead costs.[17]

Starting mid-April 2019, the company started facing speculation of lacking operational funds and have since stopped their service in the Philippine market.[18] In May 2019, it stopped the food delivery and laundry services in Singapore.[19]

In 2018 to 2019, co-founders Isaac Tay and Jonathan Low resigned from the company.[20]

Mr Sng was replaced as CEO by Mr Brian Koo, who had said that he would be working with the executive team to conduct an in-depth review of the business and to "align our strategic interests across our various geographies and verticals".

In April 2020, Honestbee creditor Benjamin Lim applied to wind up the company. The company was subsequently issued a winding up order in July 2020 and dissolved shortly after; the site formerly occupied by habitat, described as their "crowning jewel", is currently leased out and used by RedMart.[21]



Partnering both supermarkets and specialty stores, customers were able to shop a range of grocery options. Brands such as FairPrice, Jones the Grocer, Tesco, and Emporium Shokuhin were available on their platform. The grocery business was available in all 8 countries in which honestbee operates.


honestbee launched their food delivery service in February 2017. First launched in Singapore, the service was then rolled out in Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Thailand. As of May 2018, they'd become an exclusive partner of MOS Burger in Singapore.


Launched in September 2016, the honeybee laundry service was only available in Singapore. Customers were able to get their laundry picked up, cleaned, and delivered back in 2 days time. Their pickup and delivery time for laundry service was from 1pm to 10pm(GMT+8), every day.


Launched in late 2017, the Ticketing service was only available in Singapore. Customers were able to purchase tickets to WE Cinemas, direct from the app. It also served as an aggregator of movie timings across multiple cinema chains in Singapore.


honestbee was operational in eight regions in Asia:

  • Singapore (suspended)
  • Malaysia (suspended)
  • Thailand (suspended)
  • Indonesia (ended March 2019)
  • Japan (suspended)
  • Philippines (suspended)
  • Hong Kong (ended May 2019)
  • Taiwan (suspended)


April fool's prank[edit]

In late March 2016, honestbee announced a partnership with "Explorer Joe Exotic Meats" (later revealed to be fictitious), which would allow customers to purchase meat from endangered animals including pandas and whales.[22][23] While the company eventually claimed its intention all along had been to "bring awareness" and stimulate conversation about the plight of endangered species, the company faced backlash from the public both before and after the revelation that the campaign was a hoax, with a number of customers saying they would boycott the service.[24]

Worker pay[edit]

In 2015, honestbee stated it was paying Singapore workers "up to SGD $14 (about $10) an hour;"[25] by May 2016, however, workers countered that the company had lowered the "basic rate" twice, from $7.50 to $6 and then $5, and that there were also issues with payroll being late or miscalculated.[26]

Founder issues[edit]

Honestbee CEO and co-founder Joel Sng was able to net millions of dollars in funding for the company. But rather than building the startup, he bought a house in Japan, rented apartments in various cities, and spent millions renovating physical offices—first revealed in 2019 by Tech in Asia.[27] The company performance numbers that Sng gave to investors and employees were fraudulent; the company has since initiated legal action against Sng for breaching of fiduciary duties.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Honestbee profile", Craft, retrieved 13 August 2019
  2. ^ a b Sim, Walter (July 20, 2017). "Singapore grocery concierge service Honestbee buzzes towards 'global store' concept". The Straits Times. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  3. ^ Woodhouse, Alice (November 8, 2016). "Honestbee brings fresh buzz to convenience shopping". South China Morning Post. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Low, Aloysius (September 14, 2016). "Asia-based grocery delivery startup Honestbee adds laundry services to its lineup". CNET. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Roxas, Stephanie (June 24, 2017). "SG-based mobile app grocery delivery service expands to PH". Newsbytes Philippines. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Iwamoto, Kentaro (September 4, 2017). "Honestbee wants to help, not disrupt, Tokyo grocery stores- Nikkei Asian Review". The Nikkei. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  7. ^ "Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem". Tech in Asia. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "honestbee Delivers Groceries in an Hour". Foodie. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Honestbee's Joel Sng Sets Big Regional Goals for Grocery Delivery Startup". Forbes Asia. February 24, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  10. ^ Leesa-Nguansuk, Suchit (April 25, 2017). "Honestbee sweetens Thai operations budget". Bangkok Post. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Honestbee officially launches in Indonesia". 80 Quartier. February 15, 2017. Archived from the original on October 16, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  12. ^ Kandasivam, Anushia (March 3, 2017). "honestbee launches in Malaysia". Digital News Asia. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  13. ^ Tegos, Michael. "Honestbee launches its grocery delivery service in Thailand". Tech in Asia. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "Online grocery startup Honestbee raises $15M from Silicon Valley to deliver the goods". Tech in Asia. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  15. ^ "honestbee launches a world's first 'NewGen Retail' concept: habitat by honestbee, a one of a kind tech-enabled, multi-sensory grocery and dining experience". PR Newswire. 16 October 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  16. ^ "Honestbee To Close Habitat Supermarket Until Feb 29, Will Continue Online Grocery Deliveries". Vulcan Post. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  17. ^ "honestbee clears out furniture from habitat; police called in". The Business Times Singapore. 2 March 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  18. ^ "Grocery delivery startup Honestbee is running out of money and trying to sell – TechCrunch". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  19. ^ "Honestbee halts food delivery service in Singapore". TODAYonline. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  20. ^ "After leaving Honestbee, entrepreneur Isaac Tay hopes to make a buzz in the comedy scene". TODAYonline.com. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  21. ^ "RedMart to occupy honestbee's former habitat site". The Business Times Singapore. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
  22. ^ Swerdloff, Alex (March 1, 2016). "An Asian Grocer's April Fools' Joke About Panda Meat Seriously Backfired". Vice. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  23. ^ Balea, Judith (March 30, 2016). "Honestbee's exotic meats sale: an April Fools' prank gone wrong?". Tech in Asia. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  24. ^ Ravikrishnan, Ashutosh (March 30, 2016). "'Sale' of panda meat, koala sausages part of endangered animals awareness campaign: honestbee". Today. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  25. ^ Shu, Catherine (October 20, 2015). "Singaporean On-Demand Grocery Startup Honestbee Gets $15M To Expand To Six New Asian Countries". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  26. ^ Ho, Olivia (May 10, 2016). "Freelancers for honestbee feeling the sting". The Straits Times. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  27. ^ "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem". www.techinasia.com. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  28. ^ "Honestbee taking legal action against ex-CEO & director for 'questionable transactions' including S$1.6 million Hokkaido house". mothership.sg. Retrieved 2020-06-30.

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