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Lapasar: Revolutionizing B2B Procurement with Digital Innovation

By CelineNo Comments

In the bustling business landscape, where every transaction counts, procurement emerges as a crucial component in the operational machinery. It is the lifeline that keeps businesses stocked with the necessary goods and services to function seamlessly. However, for many, traditional procurement processes have long been associated with complexities, inefficiencies, and hefty expenses. Enter Lapasar, a homegrown startup on a mission to redefine B2B procurement in Malaysia.

Through years of dedicated effort, Lapasar has emerged as a leading force in Malaysia's procurement sector, garnering recognition as one of the country's most promising start-ups. With substantial investments totalling over RM8,000,000 since 2017, facilitated by NEXEA's Angel Investors, the company has solidified its position as a frontrunner in e-procurement. Today, Lapasar commands the attention of prestigious organisations, offering a comprehensive range of products and services.

Thinesh Kumar Asogan (Left) and Ben Lim (Right)

“Lapasar has exhibited exceptional strength as a team in a vast market right from its inception. NEXEA and our investors hold great confidence in their ability to execute, as evidenced by our fourth round of investments in Lapasar.”

Ben Lim, CEO of NEXEA

Unveiling Lapasar

At its core, Lapasar serves as a bridge between buyers and suppliers, offering a streamlined platform for procuring fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) at wholesale prices. Targeting small grocery and restaurant owners across Malaysia, Lapasar leverages technology to simplify the procurement journey, saving both time and money for its clientele.

With over 3,000 SMEs and corporations onboard, Lapasar has swiftly emerged as a game-changer in the Malaysian business landscape. They've got everything covered from handling purchase requests to managing RFQs, purchase orders, and delivery arrangements. This means businesses can save time, money, and effort compared to traditional procurement methods.

What Sets Lapasar Apart

In the competitive landscape of B2B procurement, Lapasar shines as a beacon of customer-centricity and innovation. What truly distinguishes Lapasar from its counterparts is its unwavering commitment to delivering unparalleled customer service.

Lapasar's approach goes beyond mere transactions; it revolves around serving customers on the ground, ensuring their needs are met with precision and care. This commitment translates into securing the best possible prices for customers, facilitating swift deliveries, and maintaining a standard of customer service and after-sales support that is second to none.

Moreover, Lapasar stands at the forefront of technological innovation in the procurement industry. Unlike traditional distributors, Lapasar leverages cutting-edge technology as the primary means of reordering.

“We are also the first to use technology as the main way of re-ordering as opposed to traditional distributors”

Thinesh Kumar Asogan, CEO of Lapasar

This innovative approach streamlines the procurement process, offering customers a seamless and efficient experience transcending conventional norms. Lapasar's dedication to customer satisfaction and its innovative use of technology sets it apart as a trailblazer in the B2B procurement landscape. As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of procurement, Lapasar stands ready to lead the way, empowering its customers with the tools and support they need to thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace.

How Lapasar Began

Thinesh and Lapasar Team

In the bustling corridors of entrepreneurship, where innovation meets determination, the seeds of Lapasar were sown in the visionary mind of Thinesh Kumar Asogan. It was the year 2016 when Thinesh, armed with a rich tapestry of experience in Business and Human Resource Management, coupled with insights gleaned from the world of medical device distribution, recognized a glaring void in the realm of B2B procurement in Malaysia.

Driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence and a burning desire to challenge the status quo, Thinesh embarked on a transformative journey to redefine the very essence of procurement. Teaming up with like-minded individuals who shared his passion for innovation and efficiency, Thinesh laid the foundation for what would soon become Lapasar. Despite facing challenges inherent in understanding corporate procurement intricacies, Thinesh and his team meticulously gathered insights from 30 companies, uncovering inefficiencies ingrained in traditional procurement processes.

Lapasar's beginnings were marked by a meagre RM 20,000 investment, utilised to develop a rudimentary B2B platform and target large corporate clients. The initial phase was arduous, with lengthy sales cycles of 6-12 months posing revenue challenges, compounded by the necessity to balance supply and demand without financial resources or brand recognition. Nevertheless, Lapasar navigated these obstacles with determination and perseverance.

“We had to take it one step at a time”

Thinesh Kumar Asogan, CEO of Lapasar

By August 2017, fueled by a wealth of insights and a clear vision for change, Lapasar.com emerged as a beacon of innovation in the B2B procurement landscape. With a platform primed to revolutionise the industry, Lapasar was poised to embark on a journey to reshape the foundations of procurement as we know it.

Initially, Lapasar set its sights on serving the corporate segment, launching its B2B platform in 2018. Esteemed clients such as Telekom Malaysia, PETRONAS, and Tenaga Nasional Berhad relied on Lapasar to procure essential items for their daily operational needs, ranging from laptops and projectors to office furniture and supplies. Despite facing numerous challenges, including securing customers and building brand recognition, Lapasar persevered, propelled by a relentless commitment to its core values.

However, recognising the untapped potential in serving smaller businesses, Lapasar embarked on a transformative journey in 2020. Expanding its B2B platform to cater to mom-and-pop stores, Lapasar revolutionised the FMCG wholesale segment. Now, shops can easily order their supplies, including popular brands like Milo, Nescafe, and Red Bull, through Lapasar's intuitive app/platform.

Today, the FMCG wholesale segment is the cornerstone of Lapasar's business and growth trajectory. With a bold vision, Lapasar aims to onboard over 100,000 mom-and-pop stores and restaurants across Malaysia onto its mobile app. By simplifying the daily ordering process and providing a seamless experience akin to consumer e-commerce giants like Shopee and Lazada, Lapasar is poised to revolutionise the way small businesses procure their essential supplies.

This strategic shift not only expanded Lapasar's customer base but also positioned the company as a catalyst for change in the B2B procurement landscape. With a relentless commitment to innovation, efficiency, and customer-centricity, Lapasar continues to redefine the boundaries of B2B procurement, empowering businesses of all sizes to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Milestones and Achievements

In the annals of Lapasar's journey, several milestones shine as beacons of achievement, each marking a pivotal moment in its evolution. These milestones underscore Lapasar's resilience and adaptability and illuminate its unwavering commitment to driving positive change in the B2B procurement landscape.

Securing Telekom Malaysia as Lapasar's First Customer (2018):

One of Lapasar's earliest triumphs came in 2018 when it secured Telekom Malaysia as its inaugural customer. This milestone was particularly remarkable considering Lapasar's limited resources at the time. It served as a testament to Lapasar's potential to disrupt the market and transform the way businesses procure essential items. With Telekom Malaysia onboard, Lapasar's journey towards revolutionising B2B procurement gained significant momentum.

Pivoting to Form the Wholesale Division Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic:

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for businesses worldwide. Yet, amidst the uncertainty, Lapasar demonstrated remarkable agility and resilience. Recognising the market's shifting dynamics, Lapasar swiftly pivoted to form its wholesale division. This strategic manoeuvre enabled Lapasar to navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic and positioned it for sustained growth and profitability. Despite the tumultuous backdrop of the pandemic, Lapasar's ability to pivot and adapt underscored its capacity for innovation and forward-thinking.

Recording Consecutive Months of Growth and Profitability in 2023:

As the world grappled with the aftermath of the pandemic, Lapasar emerged stronger and more resilient than ever. One of its most significant achievements came at the end of 2023 when Lapasar recorded four consecutive months of growth in topline and gross profits. This milestone signalled a new phase of growth and prosperity for Lapasar, solidifying its position as a leader in the B2B procurement landscape. It served as a testament to Lapasar's unwavering commitment to excellence and its ability to thrive amidst adversity.

Securing a Bright Future: The 31 Million Ringgit Investment

Lapasar's recent triumph in 2024 at securing a whopping RM31 million investment isn't just a financial boost; it's a testament to the company's unwavering dedication to revolutionising the B2B procurement landscape. This significant milestone isn't just about numbers; it's about fueling innovation, driving growth, and ultimately, transforming the way businesses procure their essentials.

With this substantial capital injection, Lapasar is poised to embark on an exhilarating journey towards expansion and enhancement. It's not just about scaling up operations; it's about daring to dream bigger, reaching farther, and pushing boundaries previously thought unattainable.

“We are targeting to hit RM 1 billion of revenue with this fundraise”

Thinesh Kumar Asogan, CEO of Lapasar

One of the focal points of this investment is amplifying Lapasar's presence across Semenanjung Malaysia. Picture this: Lapasar's footprint spreading far and wide, reaching businesses in every corner of the peninsula. It's about making B2B procurement more accessible, more efficient, and more empowering for businesses of all sizes.

But that's not all. This investment isn't just about expanding reach; it's about fortifying the backbone of Lapasar's operations—the logistics infrastructure. Imagine a streamlined, state-of-the-art logistics network ensuring that goods reach customers' doorsteps within a mere 48 hours. It's about turning logistics into a competitive advantage, setting Lapasar apart as a beacon of efficiency and reliability.

And let's not forget about innovation—the beating heart of Lapasar's mission. With a chunk of this investment earmarked for the development of cutting-edge distribution and sales technology, Lapasar is poised to redefine the game. Think intuitive, user-friendly platforms are revolutionising the way businesses interact with suppliers. It's about harnessing technology to simplify, streamline, and supercharge the procurement process.

In essence, this investment isn't just a financial transaction; it's a vote of confidence in Lapasar's vision, its potential, and its ability to reshape the future of B2B procurement. As Lapasar charges ahead, fueled by innovation and emboldened by this investment, the possibilities are limitless, and the future is brighter than ever before.

The Core Pillars of Lapasar

Lapasar's enduring success is built upon its core pillars, guiding principles that underpin every aspect of its operations. These pillars encapsulate Lapasar's unwavering commitment to customer-centricity, innovation, efficiency, and transparency, ensuring that every interaction with its platform is marked by excellence.

In today's fast-paced marketplace, innovation and adaptability are imperative for staying ahead. Rather than reacting to external competition, Lapasar proactively leverages data-driven insights to anticipate market trends and customer preferences. By closely analysing customer behaviour and spending patterns, Lapasar identifies areas for improvement and innovation, enabling it to respond swiftly with tailored solutions.

This proactive approach enables Lapasar to remain agile and responsive, continuously refining its platform and services to meet evolving customer needs. Whether through iterative improvements or introducing innovative features, Lapasar remains at the forefront of industry innovation.

Moreover, Lapasar recognises that its greatest competition lies within itself. By fostering a culture of self-reflection and continuous improvement, Lapasar consistently strives to outperform its own benchmarks. This internal drive for excellence fuels Lapasar's relentless pursuit of innovation, ensuring that it remains a trailblazer in the B2B procurement landscape.

Embracing Failure: A Lesson for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, setbacks and failures often accompany the pursuit of success. Thinesh Kumar, the visionary behind Lapasar, shares invaluable lessons drawn from his entrepreneurial odyssey, underscoring the significance of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Thinesh humbly acknowledges his own limitations in offering advice, yet his wisdom shines through in navigating the intricacies of entrepreneurship. He stresses the importance of viewing failure not as a roadblock but as a stepping stone towards growth and innovation. Amidst a culture that glorifies success, Thinesh's candid acknowledgement of the challenges inherent in entrepreneurship resonates deeply, reminding aspiring entrepreneurs of the reality of the journey.

Reflecting on Lapasar's journey, Thinesh speaks to the inevitability of mistakes and the wisdom gained from embracing them without regret.

"We have made so many mistakes, but I don’t think I regret anything"

Thinesh Kumar Asogan, CEO of Lapasar

Thinesh’s words echo a sentiment of acceptance and resilience, urging entrepreneurs to embrace the journey in its entirety, despite its trials and tribulations.

Ultimately, Thinesh's insights serve as a beacon of guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs, encouraging them to navigate the entrepreneurial path with courage, resilience, and unwavering optimism towards the future.

“The process is extremely painful but that’s the journey, we should embrace it”

Thinesh Kumar Asogan, CEO of Lapasar

Lapasar's journey epitomises the spirit of innovation, resilience, and determination. From its humble beginnings to its current position as a trailblazer in the B2B procurement landscape, Lapasar has demonstrated the transformative power of entrepreneurship and innovation. With its unwavering commitment to customer-centricity, relentless pursuit of excellence, and bold vision for the future, Lapasar stands poised to shape the future of B2B procurement in Malaysia and beyond. As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of procurement in an ever-evolving marketplace, Lapasar remains steadfast in its mission to empower businesses and drive positive change.

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