- Round led by Golden Gate Ventures, with Cradle Seed Ventures taking part
- App has received over 50K downloads, startup launches in Thailand
KUALA Lumpur-based on-demand services startup ServisHero has raised US$2.7 million in a pre-Series A round led by Singapore-headquartered Golden Gate Ventures, with participation from Cradle Seed Ventures (CSV).
CSV is the Labuan-incorporated venture capital arm of Cradle Fund, an agency under Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance.
ServisHero, the trading name for Business Pixel Sdn Bhd, said the funds will be used to launch in other South-East Asian markets, starting with Thailand where it officially launches today (March 21).
“We see that when it comes to local service discovery, many regions in Asean (the Association of South-East Asian Nations) face the same problems as our initial markets Malaysia and Singapore,” founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Karl Loo (pic above) told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
“[Thus] we know our product is well suited to countries outside of these markets. Accordingly, we are actively assessing options to enter further markets within this year,” he added.
The startup’s previous investors were conglomerate YTL Group, e-commerce company Lelong.my, and angel investor Christian Mewes, the former chief operating officer of Groupon International.
ServisHero connects users to service providers for their home and office needs. Despite the presence of other similar startups in the market, CSV chief executive officer Aziz Hussein expressed his confidence in ServisHero.
“We are confident that ServisHero has the execution ability to grow sufficiently and scale to be a major player within Malaysia and a few other geographical locations in the next 12 months,” he told DNA via email.
“We believe that the team’s nimbleness will help them grow their business successfully within South-East Asia and perhaps even globally,” he said, adding that CSV would be making a few more investments in 2016.
Meanwhile, Loo claimed that the ServisHero app has received over 50,000 downloads, and that the business has experienced double-digit percentage growth in transactions every month in Malaysia and Singapore.
Expanding into Thailand
To drive and grow its operations in Thailand, ServisHero has appointed Noppol Toochinda as country manager.
Loo said that language was one of the biggest challenges in expanding into Thailand, but noted that ServisHero is available in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, and Thai already.
“We are proud to have created a platform that supports many languages, including Thai,” he said.
“With our local team in Thailand, we will continue innovating on our product and provide solutions and improvements that are specific to the Thai market.
“Our entry into Thailand proves our commitment to operating in diverse regions of the Asean market,” he added.
According to Loo, the startup has an office based in the Asoke District and a founding team of six people in Thailand.
He claimed that during the ‘testing period’ prior to the Thai launch, ServisHero attracted over a hundred local service providers to its platform.
“We are now facilitating hundreds of quotations on the platform in Thailand per day,” he boasted.
Addressing pain points
Loo attributed ServisHero’s traction in Thailand to the fact that it caters to both service providers and consumers.
“With users becoming increasingly busy with their modern lifestyles, especially those living in major cities, many are turning to more effective ways to run their households and personal lives,” he said.
“The same goes for service providers who are also looking for easier ways to find customers.
“Currently, local service providers are not easily discoverable online, while the search for new customer leads through digital marketing can be complex for local services providers who are more used to traditional forms of advertising,” he added.
Despite being buoyed by the Thai takeoff, ServisHero will not be taking its eye off its existing markets either.
“We realise that we have become an important tool used daily by our service providers,” Loo declared.
“As such, we are developing tools to deliver even more value, outside of delivering leads, to make it easier for our service providers to manage and grow their business – we strive to be a central part of our providers’ operations,” he said, without giving specifics.
On the consumer side, the startup will continue adding more service categories.
“An example of this is our launch of a Business Services category that provides the convenience of ServisHero technology to find services like accounting or freelance copywriting,” said Loo.
“Maintaining a high quality of service providers and a thorough vetting process ensures that we remain the services marketplace of choice in the markets we operate in,” he declared.
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