Rising-star start-up Skootar, a messenger-service provider targeting small and medium-sized enterprises, aims to grow by two to three times this year to a total of 50,000 users after received seed funding from 500 Startups and Galaxy Ventures.
From left, Teepob Kitchawattana, CTO and co-founder, Suwatt Pathompakawan CEO and Co Founder, and Kamolprudh Jumble, co-chief executive officer and co-founder of Skootar.
Skootar handles the delivery of documents and invoices and collecting cheques for SMEs, restaurants and e-commerce businesses.
Skootar was founded by Suwatt Pathompakawan, Kamolprudh Jumbala and Teepob Kitchawattana, who first met in the start-up class at Disrupt University operated by Krating Poonpol in 2014. They joined “AngelHack Bangkok” in 2014 and came up with the idea of focusing on SMEs’ need to handle business documents, and Skootar became the winner.
“This helped confirm to us that our idea was valid,” said Suwatt, now co-chief executive officer of Skootar.
He added that the idea of Skootar came from his own difficulties when running his business. He found that SMEs had to waste time and money to handle business documents including invoices, purchase orders, cheques and so on.
Skootar went on to join “Echelon 2014” and was one of the eight finalists, from a total of 50 teams, to pitch to the judges.
After that, Suwatt and his team were confident of being able to turn the idea into a real service. But the Skootar service grew only gradually, and they realised that they needed partners to help accelerate the growth.
“At the time, we proved that our idea could be a sustainable business, but we need to grow. We realised that if we wanted to scale up, we need partners to support us in both knowledge and marketing. We decided to join DTAC Accelerate and become a winner.”
He said that with Skootar, SMEs do not need their own messengers and do not need to deliver documents to their partners or customers themselves. They can leave documents with Skootar’s messengers and just pay as they use the service.
Skootar is a platform that matches the customer’s request for document delivery with messengers through Web-based and mobile applications. Users can be SMEs or even individuals, but the primary target users are SMEs.
Users make a first-time registration, and once they need to use the service they just open the Web or app to tell Skootar their requirements, such as just delivering a document, purchase order or invoice, collecting cheques or cash, or even depositing cheques and cash.
“Our strong point, which is a barrier to entry by competitor, is that our service allows customers to design their document workflow routes. Our service is more than point-to-point but offers the whole document process in a single trip, from point A to point B and point C as well as returning to the customer as point D,” Suwatt said.
Skootar has already grown 12-fold within eight months after completing the DTAC Accelerate boot camp, and received seed funding from 500 Startups and Galaxy Ventures.
Another co-founder and co-CEO, Kamolprudh Jumbala, said the aim for this year was to focus on local markets, not only in Bangkok but also in other cities such as Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Phuket.
By the end of this year, it aims to have 2,000 to 3,000 messengers and 50,000 users, mostly SMEs.
“We are looking at expanding into Southeast Asia by early next year,” Kamolprudh said.
Skootar provides delivery of documents, parcels, and food with a maximum size of 50 by 50 by 25 centimetres and up to 20 kilograms. Customers can use the service in real time or book advance orders. The initial service cost is Bt70 plus Bt10 per kilometre. On each delivery, Skootar offers a Bt2,000 guarantee. The revenue model is commission fees per transaction.
Suwatt said it planned to raise Series A funding in 12 months to expand its delivery service to other kinds of products such as flowers, or to expand into other types of vehicles such as vans or trucks.
Skootar is one of seven start-ups in the DTAC Accelerate programme, which have received seedfunding totalling more than Bt70 million from local and international venture-capital firms, led by 500 TukTuks, Golden Gate Ventures, KK Fund, Galaxy Ventures, Ookbee and Tao Kae Noi.
Krating Poonpol, fund manager of 500 TukTuks, the investment arm of 500 Startups in Thailand, said it had invested in the seed rounds in seven start-ups (including Skootar) from DTAC Accelerate because all of them had a feasible product, strong teams with business knowledge and experience, growing user bases, and popularity in the market.
All of these are part of the success formula for start-ups. Seed funding is an early-stage investment required to support a business during the first 12-18 months until it can grow and raise Series A to Series C funding or even get publicly listed on the stock exchange.
Krating said 500 TukTuks had invested more than Bt70 million in more than 20 Thai start-ups and was looking to invest in 10 more this year.