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[SINGAPORE] The advent of cab booking apps such as GrabTaxi has provided greater convenience for commuters. Now, a Hong Kong-based tech start-up is trying to do the same with the goods vehicle market here.
Called GoGoVan, the app connects commercial vehicle drivers with customers, enabling logistic solutions, especially for last mile delivery services.
"GoGoVan is an app that helps you book a professional driver - it can be a van or motorcycle or lorry - at any time of the day, instantly," the app's co-founder Steven Lam told The Business Times.
Since its launch in Hong Kong in July last year, the app has replaced traditional call centres there, with more than 16,000 drivers registered on it and more than 600,000 transactions logged.
"We are literally the largest fleet (of commercial vehicles) in Hong Kong already," Mr Lam said.
Singapore is the company's first foray overseas, after GoGoVan had its soft launch here last Sunday. More than 1,000 drivers have shown interest in the app, with over 300 already registered and verified.
Said Mr Lam: "I'd say it's realistic for us to get at least 30,000 (drivers) in the first 6-10 months, using the same growth (patterns seen in) Hong Kong."
GoGoVan, which works based on location, first alerts the closest drivers to a request. The drivers can then choose to respond to it.
In Hong Kong, the company guarantees that someone will respond to a request in 10-15 seconds. "That's the whole business model . . . and how we solve problems with technology," Mr Lam said, adding that as the app is still new to Singapore, the company is not able to guarantee that response time yet.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are expected to form the bulk of its users, similar to Hong Kong, where SME customers make up 50-60 per cent of the business. Individuals looking to transport bulky items are the company's other target group.
"In Hong Kong and Singapore, vehicle ownership is not very high, and the cost of keeping it is also very high, so for a lot of passenger vehicle owners, when they need to move something, they are not going to use their own vehicle, but ask for help," Mr Lam said.
On the driver side of the app, individuals or smaller companies who own goods vehicles and have idle capacity are the ideal users, he added. "As long as they have the right (to use the vehicle) and the time to utilise their idle capacity, then we can solve their problem and (help them) make more money."
Prices for each journey are set by GoGoVan, based on a formula that takes into account factors such as distance, location and vehicle type.
For example, a basic motorcycle delivery within the city area would cost around $8, while a trip in a 26-foot lorry from Jurong to Changi would start from $40.
Payment will be made directly to the driver, who purchases credits to use the application. The service is free for now, though Mr Lam said that the company could charge around 10 per cent in commission in the future.
For quality control, customers can rate a driver's service after each trip.
GoGoVan recently completed a fund-raising round, raising a seven-figure US dollar sum. Some of the company's shareholders, including executive chairman Gabriel Fong, are from Singapore.
Besides Hong Kong and Singapore, GoGoVan has set its sights on other markets. It plans to roll out in another Asian country over the next few weeks, and is looking to launch in other markets, mostly cities in South-east Asia, in the next three to six months.