Stanford alumnus co-founds Qraved to satiate Indonesia’s food cravings


Qraved is Indonesia’s first startup to attract an investment from 500 startups. Rebright Partners, 500 startups and Skype co-founder ToivoAnnus saw the potential in this restaurant listing and social network for food lovers very early on. The three co-founders, Adrian Li, Sean Liao and Steven Kim, have an extensive experience of starting up and scaling ventures in the South East Asian region.

 In our email interaction with Adrian, we explored Qraved and their experience of starting up in the nascent Indonesian startup eco-system. 

Qraved to satiate your food cravings in Jakarta

Qraved enables instant table bookings at restaurants and savings for diners in Jakarta. Qraved works with restaurants to enable easier discovery by diners through shared food photos, curated lists and reviews. They also help restaurants convert more customers at off-peak hours through discreet discounts on a limited number of tables. This benefits both diners who save money, and restaurants which fill more tables.

Diners can find offers based on their desired cuisine, location or restaurant. As diners book on Qraved, they earn dining points which can be redeemed for free meals, dining vouchers and exclusive access to special events by restaurants. Qraved also solves the problem of busy or unanswered phone calls, closed restaurants and miscommunication when making reservations by making online and mobile bookings instant and simple at over 3,000 listed restaurants. They enable restaurants to take bookings online and manage the information efficiently and work on a subscription-based revenue model.

Adrian Li

According to Adrian, “as Dave McClure says that food tech is a high frequency, big market and mission critical issue that can be done much better especially when it comes to finding a place to eat. Qraved wants to make affordable dining out as easy as a click of a button.”

Interest in internet ventures plus the love for food gave birth to Qraved

Adrian has over 10 years’ experience in starting and operating internet businesses in China and South East Asia. He received his undergraduate degree at Cambridge University and his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Steven completed his MBA at INSEAD and has extensive internet venture experiencewithin multi-cultural environments. He has successfully founded three online startups, including Zalora, Wimdu and Officefab.

Sean has over 18 years of international experience in designing and building enterprise and consumer internet technology platforms. As an entrepreneur and chief technologist, he has founded three software development centers in Asia which are responsible for launching over a dozen large scale internet ventures globally. Sean attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and majored in computer science and electrical engineering.

Steven Kim

Adrian and Sean first met in 2011 and worked together during their tenure at Rocket Internet. In 2012, Adrian moved to Indonesia and met Steven. They built OfficeFab, an office supplies e-commerce company, together. In 2013, the founders started having discussions about the immense opportunities in South East Asia, in particular Indonesia, for internet verticals. They brainstormed together and finally chose to start up Qraved, out of their final three short listed ideas, based on potential market size, existing competition and passion for food.

Adrian enjoys training for Ironman triathlon and jokes that he uses it as his excuse to eat a lot. Sean enjoys reviewing code while dining at fine establishments, and Steven is a self-trained chef who

Sean Liao

travels internationally to cook at Secret Supper Clubs.Adrian shares, “It definitely helps that we are passionate about food and many features come from ideas that help us discover food. However, nothing beats meeting with our users, both consumers and restaurants, to hear their feedback about Qraved, what works for them, what can be better and how to improve.”

Other restaurant listing sites operating in Indonesia include local players such as SendokGarpu and international sites like Openrice. Qraved sets itself apart from them with its focus on curated lists of restaurants, displaying them in a photo centric way and enabling instant reservations. Adrian says, “Qraved appeals to the increasingly mobile, social and photo centric user. It provides a more flexible, engaging and objective way of discovering and booking restaurants. Our target market is everyone who enjoys going out for a meal. We are primarily growing and reaching them by word of mouth and social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.”

Qraved came out of beta 10 weeks ago and they are now working on their mobile apps for both iOS and Android. Qraved is present only in Jakarta but they are planning to expand their service coverage this year.

Start up experience in Indonesia

Qraved was not the first company the founders started in Indonesia. Adrian and Steven had started OfficeFab with Rocket Internet in 2012. Also, Sean was behind the technology development center that launched all of Rocket Internet’s e-commerce sites in South East Asia, including the ones in Indonesia. They all had significant experience in starting ventures in the market they were entering with Qraved.

According to Adrian, “one of the advantages of starting up in Indonesia, as compared to other SEA countries, is the relatively lower cost of living which allowed them to start the venture at a lower cost. Second, there are many proven internet models which have not yet been developed in Indonesia which present a huge opportunity for internet services. Indonesians also seem to be fast at adopting new products and there is a large appetite for internet/social products. Indonesia is one of Path’s largest and fastest growing markets.”

However, Indonesia also presents challenges in starting up an internet business. As the industry is relatively young, it is hard to find experienced talent in the market. And for B2C such as e-commerce start ups there are challenges in supporting infrastructure in payments and delivery due to the relatively nascent industry.

“The startup environment in Indonesia has been buzzing for the last couple of years. During this time, there has been an explosion of entrepreneurship programs like Founders Institute, start up events like Startup Weekend, incubators, and venture funds entering the market. This has all helped to promote the industry. However, investment sizes and exits are still relatively small. Because it is a nascent industry, VCs have taken more of a mentoring role over ventures they have funded which has led to the emergence of many incubators. The Indonesian tech scene is one to keep an eye on,” says Adrian.