• Kaodim, an online marketplace for services in Malaysia, raises US$550,000 in seed funding 
  • Round led by East Ventures, with participating VCs that include 500 Startups 
  • Funding will be used to focus on Malaysian market, expand the company, and grow users and service providers

Kaodim

Malaysia-based Kaodim, an online platform to find professional services, recently announced that it has raised US$550,000 in seed funding.

The round was led by East Ventures, in participation with other VCs including 500 Startups. East Ventures has been highly active in the past few weeks, investing in Thailand-based stock market app StockRadars and Singapore-based jobs platform Glints.

Also Read: Glints turns away funds in oversubscribed US$475K seed round

According to the services marketplace that enables users to hire providers based on user specifications, the funding will be used to focus on the Malaysian market, expand the company, and to grow its base of users and service providers.

In an interview with e27, Kaodim Co-founders Jeffri Cheong and Choong Fui-Yu discuss challenges, plans, and more…

Excerpts:

What does a platform like Kaodim offer its users?
Choong: The subject matter itself, services, is a fundamental need. Kaodim helps make better engagements, and makes it easier for users to connect to these services. These are things that prior to Kaodim were never available; so for service providers, this is something fairly new. And for users, they get to compare ratings, reviews and profiles.

Cheong: Before Kaodim came about, people were just relying on recommendations from friends to hire plumbers, contractors, cleaners, everyday services that were needed. Kaodim has made the whole process really quick. The Meet and Greet — or matching — is done on the website. We have an in-built messaging system for users and service providers to communicate with each other to discuss prices, timings, etc. Introductions and quotations are exchanged within minutes. All services providers we get on the platform are also vetted and verified to ensure reliability.

Also Read: Zoposh launching soon to take on Malaysia’s real estate ‘cowboys’

How has the platform done so far?
Choong: According to our latest statistics, job requests — requests for services from users — are close to 6000, with an average of about 4000 job requests a month. Our week-on-week growth in job requests stands at an average of 45 per cent. There has been a total of about 20,000 quotes submitted from Kaodim’s service providers, with some service providers having gained more than 50 new clients within three months of using Kaodim. The total value of all transactions facilitated is close to US$10 million.

How do you stack up against competitors?
Cheong: With some of other platforms who have tried to enter the service platform space, service providers would get the contact details of users and then be in charge of calling clients, which isn’t very conducive, as it can seem like harassing users. We place the decision on the users as to who they want to call. Service providers can then also decide if they want to issue a quote, which gives either party flexibility and choice.

Choong: When it comes down to it, what we’re trying to do is to match supply and demand. Users can be really specific with what they need.

Also Read: Malaysians spent US$2.66 billion on smartphones for 2014

What are some of the challenges the startup faces?
Choong: It’s a common issue for multi-party platforms to have to balance supply and demand. The rate at which you grow will either support or be hindered by the amount or service providers you have. We have to pay close attention to it to ensure that we deliver that network effect, that a request on Kaodim would receive a sufficient number of quality responses from providers. The big challenge is how to make that workable on a big scale.

Also Read: The A to Z of e-commerce in Malaysia

What’s next?
Choong: Our platform is mobile optimised, so we want to eventually roll out an actual app in the first half of the year. Expanding into cities such as Jakarta, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore is also something we’re looking at.

Cheong: We want to incorporate more services. Like education for example, getting tutors, lessons on our platform or for business-related services like getting accountants, translators — things where there’s no official platform to find them. This also includes party planners, instructors, freelance graphic designers, yoga instructors — basically anyone that’s providing a service. There’s really no limit.

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