BANGKOK, June 4 (Reuters) - Thai food delivery startup Line
Man Wongnai said on Friday it was seeking investors to help grow
the company and expand its domestic reach, after seeing a big
jump in transactions due mainly to coronavirus curbs.
"We are in fundraising mode," chief executive Yod
Chinsupakul told Reuters, adding that its current round would be
open for "two to three months, maximum".
In July, Line Man, the food delivery unit of Japanese chat
app, Line, merged with Thai restaurant aggregator, Wongnai, and
raised $110 million from BRV Capital.
Yod believed the company's valuation would exceed one
billion dollars and that a realistic target for an initial
public offering was within two to three years, and capital
markets outside of Thailand would also be looked at.
Transactions on the platform grew 5.5 times since last year
and the company aimed to cover all 77 Thai provinces by year-end
from 55 at present.
Line Man Wongnai competes with tech giants like Grab, Go-Jek
and Thai-based food delivery units of Siam Commercial Bank
and True Food, owned by telecommunications firm True
Line Man Wongnai's advantage over rivals comes from access
to 49 million users on Line's messaging app and 600,000
restaurant in its database, which lowered customer acquisition
costs and made it faster to add new restaurants, Yod said.
However, after launching its own fleet, the company has had
issues with its riders.
On Friday, scores protested outside its Bangkok office
demanding better working conditions, like insurance, better
commission, and free calls via the application.
The app has about 60,000 riders.
"They say they've taken up our request, but nothing
happens," said Line Man driver Adisorn Sinboonthu who travelled
about 80 km (49.71 miles) from his home and said he makes around
200 baht ($6.40) a day after phone and gas expenses.
Earlier this week the company said it would consider riders'
requests after a similar protest. Line Man Wongnai did not
immediately respond to a Reuters request on driver demands.
($1 = 31.2300 baht)
(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Martin Petty)