Kuala Lumpur’s self-described ‘Grab for local service providers’, ServisHero, announced today it raised a US$2.7 million pre-Series A round led by Golden Gate Ventures.
Other participants to the fundraising were Cradle Seed Ventures, which is an initial RM40 million (US$9.9 million) fund launched by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance.
In conjunction with the funding, ServisHero also announced it is launching in Thailand.
With the expansion, ServisHero will operate in three countries — Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand — but hinted at further expansion in the region by saying, “ServisHero plans to use the funds to keep up this momentum by launching in Thailand as well as rapidly expanding its geographical footprint in South East Asia.”
ServisHero Co-founder and CEO Karl Loo told e27 the company put a team in Thailand several weeks ahead of today’s news. He explained the reason was to interview potential clients and customers and adjust strategy before entering the market. For example, ServisHero will use LINE extensively when communicating between providers and clients.
“Thailand shares many of the same problems when it comes to local service discovery and also has very high mobile penetration and adoption rates. For this reason, we believe the fundamentals of our platform are well-suited to Thailand,” he said.
“We do understand that adaptation of our business to suit local business/culture is inevitable – that is why it was important for us to establish a strong local management team with insight into local business culture,” he added.
The company has appointed Noppol Toochinda, who has previous experience at The Maersk Group as well as Procter & Gamble, as Country Manager.
Also, Loo says ServisHero plans to “grow our engineering team and continue developing more digital tools to improve the business capabilities of our Heroes (local service providers)”.
Other uses for the fundraising will be to strengthen the company’s technology platform.
Finally, ServisHero also announced today it has integrated a multilingual feature into the app. Users will be able to submit job requests and communicate with service providers in English, Malay, Mandarin and Thai.
Launched in June of 2015, the company has over 50,000 downloads and claims to have double-digit transaction growth every month. It also has thousands of service providers using the app to find new gigs.
The app utilises an “I need help with…” search bar with a variety of options. The type of services provided are wide ranging — from obvious examples like a maid or a plumber to more niche services like ‘Cantonese lessons’ or ‘vegetarian catering’.
Customers then fill out a variety of questions like ‘are you willing to travel to the tutor?’. ServisHero will get back to customer with a quote from a ‘Hero’ and the user can choose the option of his/her choosing.
ServisHero does have a desktop platform but a vast majority of business comes via the mobile app. Job leads get delivered straight to the smartphone which Loo says is important because most of the workers are in industries that require mobility and pull them away from a computer.
“Whilst the majority of our service providers use ServisHero as a tool to supplement their existing client bases, we have some service providers where 90 per cent of their paid work is now derived from ServisHero leads,” says Loo.
Looking ahead, Loo highlighted that ServisHero is the primary touchpoint for many of its service providers and said if the company succeeds it will mean having a similar impact on as many SMEs in ASEAN as possible.
Golden Gate Ventures is a Singaporean early-stage VC firm with notable portfolio companies like 99.co, Carousell and Xfers.
Recently it has invested in Hong Kong clothing retailer Grana, Singaporean loyalty platform Perx and Portuguese independent app store Aptoide.
Photo courtesy of ServisHero and Golden Gate Ventures.