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ONE STOP SHOP: Gig Life Asia (above), a one-stop gig portal, lists events in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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ONE STOP SHOP: Ms Dewan (above) also throws in useful information, such as a curated selection of nearby accommodation, and tips on how to get to the event venue by different modes of transport.

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ONE STOP SHOP: Gig Life Asia, a one-stop gig portal, lists events in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan (above), South Korea, Japan, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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MATCHING OWNERS WITH CLEANERS: Helpling founders Mr Huffman and Mr Franke (with spray can).

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MATCHING OWNERS WITH CLEANERS: Helpling is an easy-to-use platform that offers a team of vetted and reliable cleaners; it has cleaned more than 150,000 households worldwide to date (above).

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MATCHING OWNERS WITH CLEANERS: Helpling is an easy-to-use platform (above) that offers a team of vetted and reliable cleaners; it has cleaned more than 150,000 households worldwide to date.

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EASY CONTACTS: Mr Lim (above) has a team who personally meets up with any potential service provider.

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EASY CONTACTS: A Page Advisor (above) user can expect to receive multiple price quotes within minutes of submitting his job request, and he will be able to study merchant ratings and reviews before accepting a quote and appointing a service provider.

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INTUITIVE SOLUTION: Mr Kow (above) with Amol Chawathe, the founder of Fountain Technologies, GigsterGo's technology partner.

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INTUITIVE SOLUTION: To match Gigsters to the right Gig owner, factors such as price and ratings are clearly stated on GigsterGo (above); Gigsters and Gig owners are also encouraged to chat with each other to get a better fit.

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INTUITIVE SOLUTION: To match Gigsters to the right Gig owner, factors such as price and ratings are clearly stated on GigsterGo (above); Gigsters and Gig owners are also encouraged to chat with each other to get a better fit.

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HANG OUT ZONE: Mr Koh and Ms Lu (above) say key users of the website are professionals in their late twenties and early thirties.

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HANG OUT ZONE: For each listing on UrbanTip (above), information on the event or place is given, along with useful tips such as average cost, addresses, opening hours, and a reservation option if available.

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FULFILLING WISHES: Mr Helgosson (left in picture) and Mr Youssef.

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FULFILLING WISHES: Djenee (above) will officially be launched in Singapore later in the month; it doesn't use robots but has a human team working on every wish.

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FULFILLING WISHES: Djenee (above) will officially be launched in Singapore later in the month; it doesn't use robots but has a human team working on every wish.

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FULFILLING WISHES: Djenee (above) will officially be launched in Singapore later in the month; it doesn't use robots but has a human team working on every wish.

The search is over

Seeking a particular service, provider or information on an event? Thanks to clever use of technology, resourceful entrepreneurs are making the task easier.
Jul 11, 2015 5:50 AM

Gig Life Asia

http://www.giglifeasia.com/

TRAWLING the Internet for gigs to attend, especially those overseas ones, can be a tiring task. Entrepreneur, and regular gig attendant, Priya Dewan, has made it simple with Gig Life Asia, a one-stop gig portal.

"I decide the gigs to list based on unique festivals and events that I believe people would be interested in travelling to. At the moment, they are based around music, because that is my background, but moving forward, I could expand to other types of events and festivals, be it sporting, cultural, theatrical, etc," says Ms Dewan. The site lists events in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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Ms Dewan is also the founder of Feedback Asia, an Asian-based booking and music consultancy firm that represents artists from around the world for opportunities in Asia.

As part of her job, she attended shows and festivals across Asia, and often posted these gigs on social media to share with friends and colleagues. The response she got was overwhelming. People would be asking her for more information such as getting to the location, where to stay, and how to get tickets. "I saw that all of the websites for the events were catered for the local communities and very often, in the local language, making it very difficult for foreigners to access them," says Ms Dewan, 33. "That is when I realised I should start this website, to make it convenient for people from Asia and all over the world to access these events."

Rather than give a laundry list of gigs and events, Ms Dewan also throws in useful information, such as a curated selection of nearby accommodation, attractions, F&B hotspots, and tips on how to get to the event venue by different modes of transport. Most of the information comes from Ms Dewan's own experience.

She took 18 months to conceptualise and develop Gig Life Asia. Her team at Feedback Asia, and the promoters of each event also help contribute to the site.

"Primarily though it is myself and content manager Nicolette Yim, updating the social media and experiential information, including hospitality recommendations specific to each event and radio playlists specific to each event," says Ms Dewan.

While it is now a website, Ms Dewan doesn't rule out developing an app for Gig Life Asia. "I first wanted to launch the website, which is mobile friendly, then based on analytics of who is using the site and how, develop an app that would cater to their needs," she says.

Ms Dewan says the best feature of the portal is the depth of information provided. "Some of these festivals and events are off the beaten track in countries where English is not widely spoken, so tips on how to get there and get around, where to stay, what to do and even how to purchase your tickets are very useful because they would take a lot of time and energy to find independently," she says.


Quick and painless cleaning

Helpling

https://www.helpling.com.sg/

Also available on Apple Store and Google Play

HOW fun is cleaning the home? Not very fun when you have to do it yourself. But how about just pressing a few buttons on your smartphone and getting a clean home in return?

Helpling, a book-a-cleaner service allows you to do that. The German company was started by Benedikt Franke and Philip Huffmann last year, and was launched in Singapore in February.

Before Helpling, booking a reliable cleaner could be a problem. Apart from combing through classified ads, homeowners are at the mercy of the black market. "Benedikt and Philip recognised this need and decided to launch an on-demand cleaning service. They envisioned a platform through which homeowners can easily reach reliable and vetted cleaners, in a quick and painless way," says Lynette Chong, business development manager at Helpling Singapore.

Mr Huffman comes from an e-commerce background, and was previously the interim head of StyleHaul, the leading YouTube network for fashion and lifestyle. Mr Franke was previously the chief operating officer for MyCityDeals, an online coupon shopping site.

Helpling is not a cleaning company but rather an on-demand cleaning platform which matches homeowners with reliable cleaners. It charges a flat rate of S$20 per hour, with a minimum two hours per booking, and payment is only processed after the cleaning is done. Helping does not charge agency fees, nor does it require customers to purchase a package. To date, it has cleaned more than 150,000 households worldwide.

"We are also the only company in Singapore backed by a S$1 million liability insurance, that backs every cleaner and every cleaning job. The insurance covers public liability and personal accident for the cleaner and the customer," says Ms Chong.

Besides its liability insurance policy, Helpling has systems in place when it comes to hiring cleaners. Cleaners go through a vetting process, and an on-boarding session where Helpling goes through the basics of cleaning to ensure the service rendered is up to company standards.

"We also have a rating system where customers are encouraged to provide feedback on the service," says Ms Chong. "Furthermore, our customer service team is in place to handle client calls, both from our customers and cleaners."

It currently has over 250 freelance cleaners in the database. "They use our online portal to accept and schedule jobs, effectively managing their schedules themselves," says Ms Chong.

The cleaners do general home cleaning, such as dusting furniture and mopping floors, to specific requests such as cleaning kitchen equipment, straightening closets, and wiping interior windows. They can also help do the laundry, and ironing is one of their most popular requests.

"Helpling is an easy-to-use platform that offers a team of vetted and reliable cleaners. Customers can book either through the site or via our mobile app, as and when needed. Our insurance policy also insures each and every job completed, adding to the advantages of using Helpling," says Ms Chong.


Service in three steps

Page Advisor

http://www.pageadvisor.com/

Available on iTunes App Store and Google Play

THINK of Page Advisor like the Yellow Pages, but fitting snugly into your smartphone. The app, South-east Asia's first real-time mobile commerce marketplace platform, was created by online entrepreneur Fabian Lim.

"Often, if you need a particular service, you would go around asking friends for contacts. Using technology, we have made that search much easier," says Mr Lim. "With Page Advisor, you can now hire a local service provider in three steps and in less than three minutes."

Here's how it works. The user picks his required service from a menu. Next he answers a series of short questions, and fills in the date and time that he needs his job performed.

As details of the job request will be sent through the app to merchants in the appropriate category, the user can expect to receive multiple price quotes within minutes of submitting his job request, and he will be able to study merchant ratings and reviews before accepting a quote and appointing a service provider. "Rather than calling three to four providers to get a quote, you can instantly see how much the job may cost, and decide which provider to go with," says Mr Lim.

Payment is made in-app by credit card upon confirmation of a job, doing away with the need for cash or cheque payments to be made when the job is completed. As an additional benefit for consumers, Page Advisor has a voluntary Merchant Guarantee Programme (MGP), which service providers can sign up to in exchange for a lower platform fee.

Service providers who sign up to the MGP offer a 100 per cent money back guarantee on the price of services transacted through Page Advisor, and the MGP is designed to enhance consumer confidence in a service provider. What this means is that if a user is not satisfied with the job done, and if it cannot be rectified, he gets a 100 per cent refund.

Service providers are not charged any directory or listing fees to sign up with Page Advisor, and pay a very modest platform fee only if they complete a job through Page Advisor.

Page Advisor currently offers over 100 services, from air-conditioning servicing, to car grooming, balloon sculpting and even durian delivery. It is particular about the providers who sign up. "Only registered companies can be on the platform, so no freelancers," says Mr Lim. "We also look at their necessary qualifications. For example, a doctor who does housecalls must present his medical certificates." He has a team who personally meets up with any potential service provider.

Since launching Page Advisor about two months ago, the company has received over 3,000 job requests. Those who sign up for the service regularly receive notifications of promotions. For example, this month, it is offering S$10 off the first job, S$20 off the second, and S$30 off the third. "It's our way of getting more people to try the service," says Mr Lim.


The right connection

GigsterGo

http://www.gigstergo.com

Available on Google Play and soon on Apples iTunes Store

WHO knew that the search for an air con would lead to James Kow finding a new career?

Mr Kow, a former director of e-commerce for companies such as Citibank, Barclays and Bloomberg, is now the founder of GigsterGo, an online platform to connect people to services.

The idea for GigsterGo came about last year, when he was renovating his home, and was looking for an air con supplier. He searched online and asked friends, and it took him quite a while to find a reliable one. "I was thinking, there's got to be a better way to find the right providers, better way to discover the price for services and more efficient way to communicate with the providers. Asking my friends and acquaintances, it seemed like a common gripe - how do we find help for services we need?" he asks.

GigsterGo became the solution - a simple and intuitive way of connecting people in need of services to the providers that offer them.

Mr Kow decided to name the service required "Gigs" and created the name GigsterGo. The idea for GigsterGo came to him early last year, and after devoting time and resources into research and development, GigsterGo was launched last December.

Say you need a household service done. Post a Gig on the site, and GigsterGo will alert the relevant Gigsters (or service providers) on the Gig available. The Gigsters will then submit their bids for the Gig. The Gig owner can then evaluate the bids, chat with the Gigster and then chooses the right Gigster to provide the required service.

To match Gigsters to the right Gig owner, factors such as price and ratings are clearly stated. Gigsters and Gig owners are also encouraged to chat with each other to get a better fit. "While price is important, it is not the only deciding factor. Ratings, schedules and expertise are important too," says Mr Kow.

The Gig owners pay the Gigsters directly so payment will only be made after the Gig is completed. In addition, once the Gig is completed the Gig owners can rate the Gigsters, which encourage the Gigster to ensure a high quality of service. "Cleaning, painting, moving and handyman Gigs are most often requested," says Mr Kow.


Occasions and events

UrbanTip

http://www.urbantip.com/

HOW often have you wondered what else you could do on the weekends besides shopping, or hanging out at a cafe? Or feel stumped when finding a place to celebrate an event?

UrbanTip hopes to make it easier for people to find things to do, or places to go. It was started by friends and business partners Joel Koh and Lu ShuHui, both 25.

Mr Koh, a business management graduate from the Singapore Management University is a self-taught front-end developer, while Ms Lu used to work in a creative agency. Since being bitten by the entrepreneur bug, she has left the agency to focus on UrbanTip full-time.

"The idea for UrbanTip first sparked when we were driving home from work one night and looking for a supper place to go to, subsequently we found ourselves searching for things to do on over weekend," says Ms Lu. Soon they began to realise that searches were often triggered by the special occasions in our lives, such as a parent's birthday, anniversary celebrations or a job promotion.

"Knowing how busy Singaporeans are, we felt that there was a need for a hassle-free platform where people can simply book the perfect all-in experience for every occasion," says Ms Lu.

Listings of places and events are grouped under categories, such as date spots, birthdays, or under activities such as hiking and biking, or theatre and shows.

For each listing, information on the event or place is given, along with useful tips such as average cost, addresses, opening hours, and a reservation option if available. Reviews are also included.

"We use a combination of bots and human curators to sift out the best activities in town," says Ms Lu.

The system makes personalised recommendations to each user based on his or her profile. Information on the user is collected to understand where they like to hang out, what their interests are and what activities they like in order to make better recommendations on activities for their selected occasion.

Once the user enters the site, he or she can get ideas on the best things to do for every occasion.

"Our three-tier curation system starts with the programming of crawlers to tap the Web for the best and hottest activities. This helps us cut through the clutter of the thousands of activities out there," she says.

The next step involves a team of local curators to filter out the deserving cream of the crop activities for the various occasions. "Lastly, we partner with taste-makers who will evaluate the quality of the experiences first hand," says Ms Lu.

Some of the recommendations include taking a supercar for a spin on the F1 tracks and learning how to fly through the air on a trapeze.

UrbanTip will officially launch on July 20. Last month it completed its beta tasting on the website. "We discovered that people were searching for more than just things to do, more often than not, they were looking for ideas for their special occasions like a friend's birthday, date ideas or even what to do for Mother's Day. The response has been pretty good so far, most users have found the site useful and that they will use it," says Ms Lu.

It is still early days yet, but there are plans to make UrbanTip an app.

The pair say their key users will be professionals in their late twenties and early thirties. "They will be at their peak in their social life where they are looking for things to do with their loved ones and they have the capacity to indulge in something a bit more special for their occasions," says Ms Lu.


Human genies

Djenee

https://djenee.com/

Available on Google Play and soon on Apple iTunes Store

REMEMBER the folk tale, Aladdin? Every time he rubbed his magical lamp, a genie would appear to do his bidding.

That genie is now a reality, thanks to Djenee. It is no coincidence that Djenee is also pronounced as "genie".

Djenee was started in Sweden by Par Helgosson and Jonny Youssef, who are also co-founders of The Service Corporation in Sweden, a digital consultancy that advises Fortune 500 companies and Swedish digital startups.

Djenee not only helps users with search services such as finding gifts, but it also receives some rather unusual requests. "We can't reveal what these requests are for confidentiality, but we can safely say that most of our unusual ones tend to be illegal or very expensive," says Adrian Koh, Djenee head for Asia-Pacific. "We have had a request from a customer to find a job, another wanted us to sell a boat and we even had a university professor ask us to write up a report for him."

On what gave him the idea to start Djenee, Mr Helgosson says: "The modern person has more to do than they have time to do it, at work and at home. We are the solution that helps people get their time back."

Djenee's users span the globe, but Sweden and Singapore are tied for first place. Djenee will officially be launched in Singapore later in the month, but it is now selectively taking on requests.

Asia looks big for Djenee. "It's clear to us that people in Asia are set to lead the way when it comes to using on-demand services. Ecommerce and mobile commerce in Asia - which grew by 36 per cent to over US$0.5 trillion last year - has already outpaced North American and is set to explode over the next few years," says Mr Youssef.

Djenee doesn't use robots to fulfil wishes, as it has "a human team of Djenees working on every wish", says Mr Koh. It can be as simple as asking Djenee for some birthday gift suggestions for a friend who loves cooking. We tried this and Djenee came back with suggestions such as a basket with delicacies, a food book, and vintage kitchenware in copper.

And if you don't like any of the suggestions, Djenee can suggest more, or even help you get the suggested gift. But what if you really don't like anything at all?

"It's free to ask us anything," says Mr Koh. He adds that there are times when people choose to not go through with their purchase or request after Djenee has sourced for a solution, which is perfectly fine by them. "Our users usually tell us why they didn't proceed, which is great feedback for us. Every user is always very happy with our service even if we are not able to fulfil their wish or if they choose not to pay for whatever reason," he says.