“Startup Foundry is our favourite course during our time in Sunway University. We had the chance to meet different people from different courses and listen to interesting startup ideas which fuels our passion. Everyone in the team has the passion to help solve existing problems,” said Pui Yien.
During their time in the Startup Foundry, the team of four discovered that home bakers are facing a lot of problems in gaining more exposure and managing customer records, whilst buyers are having a lot of difficulty searching for and selecting home-baked goods.
The team then come out with the idea of Homies, a one-stop platform that connects and benefits both sellers and buyers.
Wei Qi said that joining the Launch X programme was beneficial to the team.
“Launch X helped us expand and transform our idea into a workable and profitable business model. The speaker sessions were particularly helpful to us as they helped us improve our ideas in various aspects, such as prototyping, marketing strategies and financial planning.”
Yee Jin said that iLabs Foundry’s Karen Lau was a big help to the team.
“Karen was our mentor during our time in Startup Foundry. She constantly told us stories of startup success and failures. She inspired us by reminding us that the most successful startups see failures as an opportunity to transform their business from one form to another.”
“This meant a lot as it prepares us for a future where our startup might have to pivot away from our initial aim, but as long as we have continue to have the passion and will to drive our idea, no one can stop us from achieving success.”
The other mentor that the team is grateful for is Asia Pacific University Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Dr. Beh Ching Yew.
“Dr Beh who is our mentor during the LaunchX program, often had long and frequent discussions with Homies to give suggestions and comments on how we can do better and what are the pain points that we should focus on.”
“Both of them have given us support and inspiration when we are lost with their wise, kind and supportive words. There are times where we were overwhelmed and fell out of track, but thanks to Karen and Ching Yew, we were always pulled back on track to reset our sights on our vision of how Homies could change the homebakers market in Malaysia.”
The team hopes to jumpstart their business by leveraging Sunway Group’s vast community to kick-start their business.
“Sunway Group’s communities – its employees, customers as well as residents and visitors in its developments – is already a huge market. The people in the community could potentially be our bakers or buyers.”
“Hobby bakers can take this opportunity to sell their baked-goods while students who would like to earn extra income could also join Homies as bakers. Since we are targeting Klang Valley for our beta testing, the community in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur would be the best testing ground for us,” said Kin Fung.
“We would like to create the trend of buying home bake goods from bakers everywhere by first connecting all the home bakers to customers in Klang Valley, and then expanding the network to cover the whole Malaysia.”
“With Homies, everyone can bake from home and successfully find a market for their products, which we believe would positively impact our economy, as well as transform the market through digitalisation.”
In the next year, the team hopes to be able to have launched all the features – including data analytics and a live auction channel – and be widely recognised in the Klang Valley. Whilst, in the next five years, the team hopes to have grown their footprint to all major states in Malaysia and be able to include different categories of homemade food on the platform.
Pui Yien said that Homies will be attractive to investors for several reasons.
“Though there are some other homemade goods platforms in Malaysia, the pain point of a home bakers such as not getting enough exposure and using too much time to reply customers or closing a deal are currently not being addressed.”
“On the other hand, buyers still do find it convenient to search for home-baked goods online, and do not know where to get fresh home-baked goods. There is a gap between the home baked goods supply and demand despite mushrooming ecommerce and digitalization efforts.”
“Homies will strive to create a platform for home bakers to kickstart their business, and help them overcome most obstacles by introducing a new e-commerce practice using our proposed features.”
Wei Qi said that an investment in Homies would be an investment in the future of home-bakers.
“It is our mission to nurture a market that allows home chefs to participate in the economy and turn their skills into a sustainable business. An investment in us would be an investment in the future of these home-bakers. We believe that we can open up a lot of business opportunity for those who love to cook or bake.”
On start-ups that they would look to partner with, Pui Yien said, “We would love to connect with FoodMarketHub to work together with us. FoodMarketHub main business is to allow F&B owners to connect with suppliers so they would be able to get a better cost on items that they need to make their meals.”
“Working with FoodMarketHub will enable us to provide supplier information to our sellers for when they want to scale up and control the costs associated with it which can be another benefit that we can provide for our sellers.”
“We really look up to Eric Cheng, founder of Carsome. While Carsome’s business model seems simple on the surface but Eric Cheng’s tenacity in creating Carsome with his ability to spot and fill the gap in the used car market is something we are inspiried by. A variety of business sectors in Malaysia tends to be deem matured or boring and rarely gets innovated. Therefore we Homies seek to be the company that brings innovation to elevate home chefs in Malaysia to compete in a bigger market with us as their support,” added Pui Yien.
For other student entrepreneurs and graduates, the team has some words of wisdom to share.
“Just do it and have no regrets. Every time you face failure, remember you are one step closer to become a successful job creator or entrepreneur. You have nothing to lose other than time to do work on a startup, but rest assured, the time spent is well worth it.”