On Wednesday last week, we hosted an event at CoCoon co-working space thanks to one of our founding partners, CoCoon Ignite Ventures.
The event was an opportunity for the community to learn about the application process for cohort 2 and hear from the graduates of cohort 1.
The panel discussion with the graduates of cohort 1 featured Cassie Mak (Off Menu), Christian Secci (Pakpobox) and Lhimark Lau (Vmind). Felix Wong from our other startup (LogFlows) unfortunately couldn’t make it as he stuck in China, so Roland Yau, the lead mentor of Pakpobox, also joined the panel.
Where are the startups now compared to when they joined Betatron?
Christian Secci told us, “Pakpobox joined Betatron with a solid business which was already generating revenue. However, the challenge we faced was how to effectively optimize the business model and infrastructure for us to scale.”
“Throughout the four months, with the help of the program, we were able to secure investment from a strategic partner (4PX Chairman), which has added enormous benefits to our business. We’re now plugged into Alibaba’s ecosystem, which means when you purchase a product on websites like Taobao, with a click of a button, you can get your parcel delivered to one of our Pakpobox lockers.”
With Pakpobox’s business model, technology, monetisation strategy, and geographical expansion plans now improved, they are well positioned to scale to even more countries and increase their capacity in Hong Kong. This has attracted the attention of several investors and Pakpobox is now in negotiations to close their pre-series A funding round.
Cassie Mak shared, “When I first joined Betatron, I was focusing on a different business model, as we were only monetising through monthly subscriptions from the end users. However, after spending time talking to the stakeholders in our target market (alcohol companies, bars & restaurants and end users), we recognized an opportunity to improve the business model and add additional value to each party.”
“The following weeks were spent redesigning the product and working closely with each stakeholder to improve the structure before we started to rebuild it. We now have the strategy to capture data, which was previously inaccessible for large alcohol companies. Plus we now have the system which is perfect for bars, as it's more cost efficient for them to advertise to a very targeted audience .”
As a result, Off Menu now have a very sophisticated go-to-market strategy, which includes the launch of a chatbot they are developing. The chatbot helps users discover bars around their area and decide where to go, based on key criteria.
Off Menu has the right business model to scale and are now in talks with investors to help accelerate their growth.
Lhimark Lau, “When we joined Betatron, we were focusing on acquiring a wide range of clients for our app. However, after analysing the strategy with our mentors at Betatron, we quickly realised that we had to narrow our focus on a specific industry. We had the most traction with restaurants, so we decided to focus on this niche. Me and my co-founder, Paul, then went out into the market and started talking with restaurant owners about their current pain points.”
As a result of the research, Vmind discovered that the “pre-ordering” process was a major problem which most restaurants were facing. Particularly, as restaurants are facing a shortage of staff and table turnover is low, especially during peak hours. Anything restaurants can do to speed up the process will directly benefit their bottom line.
Large chains like McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks are already solving the problem for themselves with their own custom-built solutions. However, to develop your own pre-ordering platform just isn’t economically viable for independent restaurants or small chains. Therefore, Vmind decided to redevelop their product to solve this pain point.
They now have over 30 restaurants signed up and are ready to roll out their solution.
What was the biggest thing the startups got out of the program?
The graduates shared that one of the most significant benefits was the lead mentorship.
Being able to get hands-on, dedicated mentorship from a VC was extremely valuable for each one of them.
In Betatron, our startups meet their lead mentors once a week, who help them to overcome any problems which they’re facing.
Pakpobox were closing investment from a strategic partner and needed assistance in structuring the deal. Roland Yau (Managing Partner, CoCoon Ignite Ventures), their lead mentor, stepped in to help them close it.
Off Menu needed help to redesign their product, so their lead mentor, Tony Zander (VP of Product & Development, Vectr Ventures), helped Cassie with the process.
LogFlows needed strategic advice on how to expand into China. Therefore, their lead mentor, Joe Chan, (Partner, MindWorks Ventures) helped them with the strategy and even connected them with the CEO of one of their portfolio companies, LalaMove, who are successfully expanding into the mainland.
Vmind needed help after their pivot to restructure their app and develop the go-to-market strategy, so their lead mentors, Kevin Kwong (CEO, Aria Group) and Rafal Czerniawski (CEO, IC Studio) stepped in.
What are the details for cohort 2?
Does Betatron sound like it would be a good fit to help your startup?
For cohort 2, we’ll be accepting TEN startups, investing US$30,000 into each one, and again, providing them with hands-on mentorship to help them successfully scale.
Applications close on August 14th with the program due to run for four months, starting on September 18th.
To apply, please visit: betatron.co/apply