Singapore Restaurant Booking Site Chope Raises $2.5M Series B

Chope has raised $2.5 million (S$3.2 million) in Series B funding. The round was led by local publishing house, Singapore Press Holdings, which now owns 27.8% of the startup, valued at $1.4 million (S$1.81 million).

Chope operates a similar service to OpenTable, and allows restaurant bookings through its website and mobile apps. It provides a restaurant booking backend system licensed from a UK provider to its member restaurants, and that links up to its web front end to allow the bookings to be made.

The news was disclosed quietly to the Singapore Stock Exchange over the weekend from Singapore Press Holdings.

The Singaporean startup launched in 2011, and expanded to cover Hong Kong in mid-2012. It has 224 restaurants on its roster, and makes about 10,000 reservations a week, according to Arrif Ziaudeen, its CEO and co-founder. It celebrated its millionth diner served in July last year.

The company also managed to get its app preloaded onto the Samsung Galaxy S3 models sold in Singapore.

The obvious inspiration for Chope’s creation, OpenTable, began operations in San Francisco in 1999, and has about 25,000 restaurants in its database. Like OpenTable, Chope’s service is free to users, and the company charges restaurants a fee to use its reservation booking system, with additional fees per diner coming in through the website. OpenTable has expanded to include other European markets such as France, Germany and the UK in recent years.

Additional questions have been sent to Chope on how much control Singapore Press Holdings will have over its day-to-day operations, now that the publisher owns a decent chunk of it.

Update: Chope’s founder, Ziaudeen, said the company remains independent but it hopes to use Singapore Press Holdings’ media network to expand its user base.