Thai Express founder sold business for $80 million, now running soup start-up

Thai Express founder sold business for $80 million, now running soup start-up


Ivan Lee may not be a household name, but you've very likely heard of Thai Express, the F&B empire he founded, which now spans 75 outlets in nine countries. Though he has since sold 70 per cent of his share in the Thai Express group in 2008 for a whopping S$80 million, he is still burning with the entrepreneurial spirit, and is back with a new startup while still dabbling in the gaming arena.

HotSoupDiet

His new foodtech startup is called HotSoupDiet, and it is out to serve you more than just a spoonful of goodness. This eight month old startup which Ivan co-founded with fellow entrepreneur Dean Chan, wants to change the way you eat by making their meals highly accessible, yet healthy.

Designed to be a meal replacement for heavy consumptions of unhealthy food, the soups serve to complement your weight-loss regiment.

Their wholesome soups are all dietician-engineered and low-calorie, so they don't just taste good, but benefit your health too.

Getting in on this soupy goodness isn't difficult either. Anyone who's interested can simply sign up to their subscription-based service, after which, you can plan out your meals by choosing from the different flavours available on their website.

Customers can expect their soups to be delivered directly to them during the entire duration of their subscription plans, and it will come in a sealed and easy-to-store packaging, ready to be thrown into a pot right away, or stored in a refrigerator for a later time.

As portions have already been pre-calculated for you, they do not recommend doing anything additional such as adding bread or rice, as tempting as that may be.

Thai Express founder sold business for $80 million, now running soup start-up

A $10,000 six-week weight loss challenge

To prove the effectiveness of their subscription plans, and also to answer the calls of those who are seeking new ways to become healthier, HotSoupDiet recently held a competition on 14th June and received more than 50 potential participants of varying backgrounds interested to take on their 6 week challenge.

Now in its 5th week, the selected contestants have so far shown weight loss of between 3 to 11 kilograms, with the highest loss belonging to a contestant who lost 9 per cent of his body weight. The challenge is now down to the final 7 who have survived all the elimination rounds.

Contestants were judged based on two criteria: their weight loss percentage, and the total number of votes they garnered from fans. Two days ago, the top 7 contestants had their final weigh-in, and the scores tallied would then will be used to decide the grand winner of that attractive $10,000 cash prize, which is set to be announced in a ceremony on 1st July.

Another entrant in the ever-crowded meal delivery scene

This concept of healthy meals and snacks delivered right to your doorstep is definitely nothing new, with similar services offered by the likes of Boxgreen and Grain. Furthermore, there is also market saturation within delivery services itself with companies such as Oddle, UberEats, Deliveroo and many others. With these options, you have a great variety of restaurants to choose from to get your healthy food fix.

It will be interesting to see how HotSoupDiet will stack up against all the competition. In the mean time, encouraged by the results of their first challenge, they are more convinced than ever that the path they are treading on is the right one. With plans to hold another competition in the near future, as well as add more flavours to their menu, they are steadily building up brand recognition to compete with the big boys.

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