High Internet penetration rate and a knowledge of the local ecosystem makes Singapore an attractive move.
Malaysian-based B2C mobile app ServisHero, a company branding itself as ‘GrabTaxi for local service providers,’ has officially launched in Singapore. It is the company’s first foray outside of Malaysia. Daniel Thong, Country Manager of Singapore, told e27 that the startup is looking into expanding into a third country by the end of the year.
“When we move into a new country, the big challenge is figuring who are the early adopters in Singapore. Will they be the same as Malaysia? We have the hypothesis that in Singapore…the 25-34 year old, young working professionals and expats might actually be our early adopters. So we are going after them actively now. The demographics are much different than in Malaysia. It was a much older age,” said Thong.
With about 30 employees, the company has raised over $700,000 from investors including Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate YTL Corporation and e-commerce company Lelong.my. In Malaysia, the service operates in Klang Valley, Johor and Penang. It has about 20,000 subscribers and the company saysit is seeing double-digit growth month-on-month since going live in June.
How it works
Like Uber, customers seeking a service will get a price quote, the worker will do the job and at the end gets reviewed. It adds the element of community evaluation. “The basic premise of ServisHero is instead of just taxis, we expanded to become a local service provider as well. We connect customers to customised jobs. The main focus is infiltrating yoga instructors, air-con repairman, plumbers. That sort of thing,” said Thong. Additional handy services advertised on the website include personal trainers, language courses and cleaning.
Thong cited two major reasons for choosing Singapore over other regional countries. First is the high Internet penetration rate. A We Are Social report from early this year put the number at 73%. The other element is the ability to to forge partnerships with local startups. “These prospectives make Singapore more strategic in terms of choosing [the city] as the next location,” said Thong.
An Oxford connection
The three Co-Founders, CEO Karl Loo, CFO Jason Kang and CTO Paul Copplestone all have ties to Oxford University. Loo and Kang, along with Thong and Director of PR and Content Marketing Sonam Pelden studied together at the prestigious university. Copplestone, not an alumni, was connected to the company when he visited a friend and attended a Grande Ball event. Thong, who is in charge of bringing ServisHero to Singapore, was previously involved in business development for FundedHere — notable because it is the city-state’s first equity crowdfunding platform.
This post was originally published on e27.
Featured Image Credit: e27