In a Q&A with the founders of Beebag, Joshua and Joel Lim, we followed up from our ince our first chat with them to check in with the team on their journey and where they are heading to with the newly announced Beebag 2.0
What has your journey been like since our first chat?
Our journey after the first interview with Disruptr has been generally a great one. We were able to successfully launch Beebag 1.0 (our MVP) back in April 2022 and acquired 200 pilot testers in 3 months.
After completing the pilot program in July 2022, we compiled all the feedback we got from our users and partners so we could build a new version that solves all of their problem. And after 4 months of development, we managed to complete the MVP of Beebag 2.0 and this enabled us to close our first 2 corporate orders of 2,000 bags.
You have just unveiled beebag 2.0 , can you share more of on this new development?
The newly introduced Beebag 2.0 is essentially an upgrade from the Beebag 1.0 to solve the problems our partners and users were facing during the pilot program. The major problem our partners had during Beebag 1.0 is that the cashier had to scan the customers’ bag which was a hassle to them. And for the shoppers, there were too few partnering locations and they ended up not using it.
As such, we had to figure out a way to remove the scanning part for the partner and
increase the number of locations for shoppers at the same time, and Beebag 2.0 is born as a result of this. Beebag 2.0 still has the same mission, to reduce plastic pollution by encouraging shoppers to reuse more often through the use of gamification and technology.
But this upgrade enables us to solve the problems identified previously through a change in working mechanism to what we call “self-scanning”. Like how it sounds, we’ve shifted the scanning part from the cashier to the shoppers, and to make sure shoppers are reusing their smart bags at our partnering stores, we utilised geo-location technology to verify a shopper’s location to prevent shoppers from abusing the system. With this new change, it also meant that we could artificially increase the number of rewarding hotspots across the whole Malaysia without the need to actually onboard retailers to the platform.
So this change solved the problem where there were too few locations for shoppers
in Beebag 1.0. Essentially, the new Beebag 2.0 functions very much like the game Pokemon Go but with real-life monetary benefits and sustainability.
Other than a new rewarding mechanism, we’ve also launched the second generation NFC Tags with a new form factor, a new QR code label to cater to phones without NFC scanner, and new bag line- ups to suit different preferences. We wanted to change things in our products because we wanted to reduce the cost and increase the durability of our technology, and Gen 2 products are the result of our R&D.
What do you hope to achieve along with this new development this year?
We hope Beebag 2.0 will enable us to strike collaboration with retail chains like Lotus’s, Village Grocer, and Jaya Grocer. At this moment, we’re already working on Beebag 3.0 to bring more value to businesses and shoppers.
What challenges do you foresee for this year?
Current macroeconomics factor don’t look great with multiple western banks shutting down and an expected high inflation. As such, getting funding might be difficult and companies might be more risk averse to take on new projects and partnerships during this period.
Do share some of your recent milestones and how do they add up to the journey so far ?
With the introduction of Beebag 2.0, we are proud to share that we’ve successfully closed our first 2 corporate orders of 2,000 bags making us a revenue generating company. With this, we’re currently also on track to break 1,000 users and we’re aiming to reach 10,000 users by the end of 2023.
We were also able to take home some winnings from various competitions and accelerator
program as follows:
• First batch recipients of Cradle Fund CIP Spark Program
• Top 5 winner of the 2022 Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator Program
• Top 10 winner of the 2022 MRANTI Impact Challenge Accelerator
• Top 10 winner of the 2022 Selangor Accelerator Program
• Top 5 winner of the 2022 Klang Valley Shell LiveWire Program
• Top 4 winner of the 2022 Ecothon Malaysia
What are some of your lessons learnt as young entrepreneurs?
In my opinion, I believe there are two major disadvantages that young entrepreneurs generally have, the lack of network and experience. However, we’ve also learnt that these two problems can be easily solved if you actually take the initiative to go ask for help. Experienced and successful founders are generally keen to guide and share their network with young entrepreneurs, but this wasn’t obvious to us initially and we were reluctant to ask for help because we were afraid of disturbing their busy schedules.
So one key lesson we’ve learned is that, we can’t be shy in asking for help as young entrepreneurs and being young is actually an asset that we can leverage on while we still can.
Why should investors invest in your startup?
Investing in Beebag is equivalent to investing in the livelihoods of our next generation as we are tackling one of the most problematic and concerning issue in the world, and being able to help solve this problem and earn from it is a win-win.
Furthermore, Beebag is a lucrative investment, as we are riding on 2 mega trends of our time, Sustainability and Smart Retail, having a combined global market size of more than USD$20 billion in 2021. As such, investors’ funds will be utilised to take SEA
one step closer towards a sustainable and modern world.
Beebag is a member of 25 Startups, a startup incubator with presence in Sarawak, Penang, Cyberjaya and Johor.