Struggling startup Honestbee owes staff almost $1m

More than 200 former employees are fighting to get back wages from last two months from the Singapore-based online grocery delivery firm.
By: | September 24, 2019

Honestbee is being chased for missed salary payments from 217 ex-employees dating back to July. Some of these workers have filed claims with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management.

The startup’s CEO Ong Lay Ann says Honestbee is currently in the process of paying them, although this is just the tip of the iceberg. Honestbee has estimated outstanding debts of $286 million.

The embattled startup has massively reduced its headcount as part of cost-cutting measures. It currently has 190 employees, down from a peak of 523 full-time and 77 part-time staff back in January.

Honestbee was started up in 2015, working with supermarkets and retailers to deliver goods to customers using store pickers, a delivery fleet and mobile apps.

While based out of Singapore, it quickly expanded into eight markets across Asia including Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

In Singapore, Honestbee operates an Alibaba-style online/offline store called Habitat. It describes it as ‘’a multi-sensory, tech-meets-food grocery and dining experience’’.