Having secured US$2 mil Series A to Scale in Malaysia, GoGet sets to build sustainable future for gig workers
By Karamjit Singh October 14, 2020
- Vision of bringing flexible work to the world in a sustainable manner
- New revenue stream offering platform to corporates to digitize workforce processes
In a reminder that not many startups actually enjoy rapid growth or raise money easily, GoGet, the leading on-demand workforce platform based in Malaysia, announced yesterday, a US$2 million (RM8.3 million) Series A funding round led by Monk’s Hill Ventures.
GoGet was formed six years ago in Sept 2014 by Francesca Chia, who is also the CEO, Tan Fung Wei, CTO and Muaz Jema, financial controller.
Yet, the funding round also demonstrates a truism about the startup world, that founders who are able to build genuine value and demonstrate excellence in execution will attract venture funding – no matter how grim the economic climate.
And in fact, the oft repeated mantra that there is always opportunity in crisis also bares fruit in the case of GoGet as the observation from its lead investor, Kuo-Yi Lim, cofounder and Managing Partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures, attests to.
“The nature of work is being redefined as companies and workers seek both flexibility and fit. This trend has been accelerated by the pandemic, as businesses are transforming in response and require more elastic workforce. GoGet provides a community of motivated and well-trained workers, but more importantly, its platform extends the corporate people management systems to ensure quality, compliance and seamless workflow,” Lim says in a press release that accompanied the GoGet funding announcement.
“The traditional labor market is inefficient during these challenging times,” notes Francesca. “Businesses especially SMEs need to find innovative ways to cut costs while being profitable. Our robust technology provides these businesses a cost-efficient solution beyond what a traditional job matching service can provide. This includes quality control, compliance to standards, good user experience, and workflow integration,” she adds.
Spotting this opening, GoGet will be offering its cloud based platform for companies to utilise and manage and digitise their manual workforce processes represents an expansion of its business model to capture new revenue. Pricing for this model has not been disclosed yet.
GoGet currently collects a commission on individual jobs completed for both consumers and businesses, through three pre-paid plans for business as well as a 10% management fee option for business accounts which is where clients get various reporting tools. Besides a clutch of startups using the service, it has also served brick and mortar clients Ikea Malaysia, Maxis Business, L’oreal Paris and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. “Businesses can try out the platform within minutes of signing up, and can start from as low as RM5 for a job,” says Francesca.
The company claims 5,000 businesses, from micro SMEs to MNCs, have been onboarded to the app to hire GoGetters, its term for gig workers.
Meanwhile, what’s interesting about the US$2 million raised is that while such a decent amount raised will see founders talking up their intentions to go regional, for Francesca, it will be fully used to scale and strengthen its business in Malaysia.
“At the moment, our focus is to create more job opportunities for flexible workers, and we plan to do so by expanding the job types for GoGetters on the platform. The new funding will be used to scale services in Malaysia through product development, building and expanding the product and technology teams. GoGet will also expand its sales and digital marketing teams to grow user acquisition. This includes growing talent within the technology team, e.g. senior Rails and React developers. Our aim is to always bring value to our users, businesses and GoGetters,” she says, adding “ASEAN is in the plans,” but without offering specifics.
Empowering gig economy workers, creating sustainable future
A key value proposition of GoGet is its promise to the market of gig workers, or GoGetters, who are verified and trained using the platform before they start claiming jobs. It’s something Francesca takes seriously and slowly but surely, she has been adding incentives for her GoGetters that do make her platform stand out.
She points out that the majority of ASEAN’s labour market are low to middle skilled, and a majority are not protected with job security, future career path, and financial services such as insurance or savings. “We are here to bridge the gap,” she states.
“GoGet’s vision is to bring flexible work to the world in a sustainable manner. We believe that it is important that our community is protected and they get access to similar benefits such as savings and insurance schemes that full-time workers receive,” she says.
Elaborating on this, she says, “We believe we can do this by providing three things: the ability to learn and upskill through our online training, the ability to network and build a career through features such as ‘Favourite’ and ‘Train and Build’ and offering access to financial benefits such as on demand savings or on demand insurance to the over 20,000 GoGetters.”
Notably, the launch of this savings programme, introduced in May 2019, where GoGetters decide for themselves how much they wish to save from their earnings, has seen a 40% take-up rate. An obviously pleased Francesca points out this this rate is much higher than the average Malaysian savings rate where the Malaysian Central Bank has reported that 75% of Malaysians struggle to even raise RM1,000 for any emergency. Micro-loans are on the way as well. "We are looking for partners for loans. More details to come," she hints.
In terms of upskilling Francesca has introduced gamification to upskill people from basic skills to promoter skills which she believes will increase the utilisation of GoGetters.
Focusing specifically on providing financial services and benefits such as the ability to network, upskill and get access to on-demand savings and on-demand insurance which costs less than RM1 per day, the hope is that GoGetters are empowered to earn on a trusted platform that goes the extra mile for them.
“One example of how we are addressing the gaps is that we recently partnered with Malaysia’s Social Security Fund, PERKESO, and for the first time now we are able to provide a social security gig-protection program to our GoGetters similar to full time employees,” Francesca points out. This is something that the company has been pushing for over the last two years.
With gig economy workers in the US clamoring for more rights as digital platforms are seen as raking in a lion’s share of the earnings these flexible workers bring in and with the eyes of the Gig Economy on how California’s proposed law affording them rights equal to full-time employees, plays out next month (it is being challenged by the gig platforms), Francesca’s efforts to offer more value and rights to her gig workers could well set the template for how all other similar platforms in ASEAN act as well.
For GoGet, it is also good business as happy staff tend to translate to happy customers and happy customers generate more revenue for a business and higher revenues will lead to a larger round of funding for GoGet. Certainly, Francesca will be hoping for such a virtuous cycle.