Hong Kong Startup GoGoVan Eyes Overseas Expansion

Hong Kong Startup GoGoVan Eyes Overseas Expansion
Comments Off, 11/07/2014, by , in Local Startup News

Inspired by a big logistic problem that affected the growth of his former lunch box advertising startup, Hong Kong entrepreneur Steven Lam decided to build a van rental application GoGoVan with his friends to help connect customers to truck drivers last year.

GoGoVan is one of the many apps aiming to make it easier to hire a delivery vehicle instantly. And it now plans an expansion outside of Hong Kong.

Demand for vehicle rental services is universal as shown by the number of car-hailing apps available globally. Big global players include Munich-based Sixt and U.S.-based Hertz.

The Hong Kong-based startup,  which went online in June 2013,  hasn’t made profit but it is already setting its sights on Singapore.

GoGoVan also plans to roll out its van booking application in other Asian cities later this year as other metropolitan cities have similar logistical requirements and demands, says its founder.

In the future, its ambitions are beyond Asia as “whether  in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York or London, the daily routine and logistical requirements of supplying the Starbucks , Gucci clothing and milk powders in supermarkets, remains the same,” said GoGoVan’s Chairman Gabriel Fong.

To support its overseas expansion, the company recently concluded a “multi-million dollar” fundraising from a set of strategic investors though Fong declined to disclose the names.

GoGoVan now has the largest fleet of vans and trucks in Hong Kong after ten months of operations.  It  has processed more than HK$55 million ($7 million) in transactions.  Through its online platform, users can reach out to more than 14,000 drivers, while a traditional van calling center can access a maximum of up to 500 drivers.

Users can download the GoGoVan application from the iOS and Android app stores for free. After setting route and service requirements, a registered driver will respond in an average of 10-15 seconds while van calling centers typically require at least 15-30 minutes, according to the company. The 24-hour application also enables users to locate the driver location with GPS.  It also has a voice recognition feature that allows users to input their  location.

To compete with other similar applications in Hong Kong  with more than seven million people,  GoGoVan co-founder and chief executive Steven Lam said the key is to supply innovative features and provide quality services.

“We exercise a strict screen test to qualify delivery vehicles to ensure good service.  We also run a dedicated hotline to solve all customer questions and complaints,” said Lam.

He said a registered driver with a low rating for a period of time will be suspended by the system automatically.

With a team of 13, GoGoVan handles over 7,000 transactions every day. Its user base ranges from individual customers to small enterprises and multi-national companies, the company says.

Around Christmas last year, an individual customer who was inspired by a video clip of van-related wedding proposal replicated it by booking a van through GoGoVan, Lam recalls.

“The customer requested the van driver to drive very slowly, so he could propose to his lover.  The driver was so touched by the happy ending that he didn’t charge the customer,” said Lam.

This article originally appeared in WSJ


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