Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

HungryGoWhere co-founder leaves to seek next big thing

SINGAPORE — In less than the three years since popular food review website HungryGoWhere was acquired by telco SingTel for S$12 million, two of its three original founders have left the company.

HungryGoWhere co-founder leaves to seek next big thing

HungryGoWhere's founders (from left) Mr Wong Hoong An, Mr Dennis Goh and Mr Tan Yung Yih back in 2012. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — In less than the three years since popular food review website HungryGoWhere was acquired by telco SingTel for S$12 million, two of its three original founders have left the company.

Mr Dennis Goh, 39, left earlier this month to join venture capital (VC) firm Wavemaker as a partner. Mr Tan Yung Yih, 35, departed the start-up in 2012, the same year it was acquired.

Nonetheless, the company has continued to grow since the acquisition. Page views for the site have doubled from 4.1 million in May 2012 to 8.2 million in May this year, and the company has expanded into Malaysia.

Speaking to TODAY, the founders said leaving is a natural progression from the days when they painstakingly built the company from scratch.

Mr Goh said few start-ups have retained their founders.

“Historically even in Silicon Valley, founders of start-ups leave to build new start-ups or join VC firms. So things constantly change, but whether this translates into a disaster for the business is a different thing.”

Joining a VC firm, he said, would enable him to grow the eco-system in a bigger way. “As a VC, we can take crazy bets, the field is open to you. It is possible to be an entrepreneur in a large company, but at the end of the day, they are still accountable to shareholders.”

Mr Wong Hoong An, the remaining founder who is still actively involved in HungryGoWhere, added: “When we are young, we have the energy to build start-ups. But once we hit our 30s to 40s, we ask ourselves, do we have energy for another start-up? Going to a VC firm is easier. We don’t have to manage operations or expansion.”

Mr Tan is currently working at power company DLRE and pursuing an executive MBA. Asked about his departure, he said he had no regrets.

A SingTel spokesperson said in response to queries that the number of unique visitors to the site has grown from 876,000 to 1.3 million in the same period. TableDB, its online reservations system, currently has 560 restaurants in its list, compared with only three two years ago.

“HungryGoWhere’s focus continues to be on its restaurant reservation business and increasing its market share by introducing a new design and features in the coming months,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Goh said he had feared the worst after the acquisition. “But there’s no denying hard statistics. It’s better than I would have thought. The brand is still strong, even expanding overseas, and the community and usage are growing. TableDB — the online reservations system — has grown like crazy and there are even bigger plans coming in,” he said.

Mr Wong, who is also director of sales at SingTel’s Digital Media Unit, added that the business is slated to build up its overseas expansion in South-east Asia.

With HungryGoWhere doing well, Mr Goh felt it was time to focus on other start-ups. “The tech start-up scene here is on the verge of a take-off and I need to seize this moment and be back at the front line. I hope by taking this step to proactively mentor, it will help grow the next generation of entrepreneurs,” he said.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa