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Business  24, Apr 2014

No packing. No baggage claim. Travel hassle free with this startup

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Leave your clothes and other essentials with Singapore-based Packnada and pick them up from your hotel concierge when checking in. Pretty cool?


If you are a frequent traveller, we are sure packing and unpacking is a pain for you. And let’s not even get started on getting stuck at the airport for baggage claim and then waiting for hours to clear through security.

This particular problem sparked the idea of Packnada in Co-founders Johnbosco Ng and Jonathan Lee. In an exclusive interview with e27, the duo shared that Packnada was not the first idea that the pair of entrepreneurial brains has come up with since they met in RMIT and subsequently, worked together in Mindshare Singapore. However, it is the first idea that they have decided to work on in earnest.

Making travelling simpler
Packnada is a Singaporean startup launched in June last year, after receiving US$39,764 in funding from ACE Startup Grant, to develop the business concept of an overseas wardrobe that cleans itself.

Instead of packing luggage again and again, travellers can leave their clothes and other essentials with Packnada after signing up. The next time they fly in, they can pick their things up from their hotel concierge when checking in. The clothes are also cleaned by Packnada to ensure that they are ready-to-wear, especially for formal occasions.

The target group for Packnada is mainly businessmen that fly in on behest of corporations. The service would cost US$99 a trip for delivery, full service laundry and storage of up to 20 items for up to three months. According to Johnbosco, their service would be up to 50 per cent cheaper than if consumers were to purchase the services separately.

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Packnada targets frequent business travellers through partnerships with hotels. It has formed strategic partnerships with major players in the tourism industry, most prominently Marina Bay Sands. It also hopes to tap on the medical tourists demographic that frequently visits Singapore for consultations, by working together with Raffles Hospital.

Some of the challenges for Packnada to overcome is to educate people to see packing and travel differently, since it’s a new concept. However, the team has done customer development interviews with consultants, travel managers, even ambushing people at the airport, and it is relatively confident that there is a demand for this service.

Having launched operations in full swing only this month, currently Packnada’s storage space is bootstrapped with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s incubation space.

Going regional
With the advice of their mentor Hitesh Timbadia, Member of BANSEA and Managing Director of Asian Carats, the team hopes to scale the business to a regional setting eventually. It is also exploring a franchising model when planning to expand. The end game for Packnada would be to be able to transport traveller’s belongings from one branch to the next across Asia, maximising the convenience for business executives.

Packnada pitched at the Echelon Singapore Satellite 2014. Johnbosco said that it was exciting as it is one of the biggest startup events around. The startup has received inquiries post participating at Echelon – with people interested to find out more about the business — most prominently from Red Dot Ventures.

Theon Leong

Theon Leong

Theon is a skeptic who believes in possibilities after learning that three thirds of a pie does not add up to one and that cats can be dead and alive at the same time. He writes about business and technology, and is particularly interested in deconstructing complex ideas into bite-sized chunks. His favorite novel is The Little Prince, and spends his free time on chess and video games.

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