Glife cofounder Caleb Wu
Caleb Wu, co-founder and deputy CEO, Glife. Image credit: Glife Technologies

Glife pursues multiple M&As to expand its farm-to-table ecosystem in Southeast Asia

May 10, 2022

Glife Technologies, a Singapore-based e-commerce portal selling farm produce to enterprise customers, has closed three M&A deals in recent weeks as it accelerates its international expansion.

  • Koina, a Vietnamese startup providing farmers with tech solutions and offtaking their produce for sale to businesses, secured investment from Glife according to local reports this week.
  • Glife earlier acquired a controlling stake in PanenID, an Indonesian startup that connects farmers with restaurant and hotel buyers based in Bali province.
  • It also acquired a majority stake in Yolek, a 30 year-old company specialized in distributing plant-based foods to foodservice businesses across Malaysia.

A statement from Glife said that the Indonesian and Malaysian companies would implement its in-house enterprise resource planning platform, GlifeWare.

Glife co-founder and deputy CEO Caleb Wu indicated that both companies would retain their own brands for the time being, telling AFN that Glife’s “main focus [will] be on the integration of technologies across the operations of the businesses and welcoming the new teams.”

He said that PanenID CEO Johannes Dwi Cahyo and Yolek director Desmond Tan will continue in their roles, adding: “Down the road, there may be plans to have our branding aligned; however, this is something of a lower priority for us now.”

Wu declined to share financial details of any of the deals.

Why it matters:

In addition to its farm produce marketplace, Glife provides software solutions that allow its restaurant, cafe, and hotel customers to keep track of logistics and inventory.

Rather than seeking to build ‘from the ground up’ in new markets, Glife’s management team have opted to pursue an M&A-centric strategy in order to expand their platform’s regional footprint.

Glife cofounder Caleb Wu
Caleb Wu, co-founder and deputy CEO, Glife. Image credit: Glife Technologies

“We evaluated both options [organic growth and M&A] and a partnership-model, go-to-market strategy works better for these markets,” Wu said.

“In addition to bringing on board the local network and knowhow, adopting this approach allows us to bring together a team of passionate and talented individuals.”

The investor and investees “have complementary expertise that can be utilized to make our [respective] offerings more comprehensive,” he continued. “The acquisition of Yolek and PanenID will allow us to gain a better foothold in the markets that we would like to grow in, especially with the companies already having strong domain knowledge and connections.”

On background:

Glife raised S$11 million ($8.13 million) in funding last November.

  • The Series A round was led by Heliconia Capital, an affiliate of Singaporean sovereign investor Temasek, with participation from the Hibiscus Fund – a vehicle managed by Malaysia’s RHL Ventures and South Korea’s KB Investment.
  • At the time, the Singapore-based startup said it expected to launch into neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia during Q1 2022.
  • It simultaneously announced its investment in Novitee, a Singapore-based enterprise software platform for the food and beverage industries.

Glife — which launched in 2017 — was co-founded by CEO Justin Chou, who also co-founded alt-protein startup Growthwell and plant-based restaurant chain Greendot.

What they say:

“While a strong commercial footprint is important, we focus a lot on the people behind the business when evaluating partnership opportunities,” Wu said. “Being passionate about what they do and having a long-term mindset are two important factors we look at. Both Desmond and Johannes have demonstrated their commitment, passion, and tenacity towards their companies.”

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