Kaodim and ServisHero are two fast growing Malaysian internet startups that have been established with the purpose of helping customers connect with service professionals in the region. Both companies have remained competitive, although, most likely, only one will ultimately dominate the market.
Kaodim is a Malaysian-owned online marketplace founded by two lawyers named Jeffri Cheong and Choong Fui-Yu. The lawyers were both passionate about innovative and disruptive businesses, and decided to give up practicing law to become entrepreneurs.
Kaodim began when Choong and Cheong realized that it had been difficult for Malaysians to find and hire service professionals. It was too time consuming to find referrals from acquaintances or by making phone calls. They examined the rise of US Thumbtack which raised $100 million, and the two discovered that there was an opportunity for the Malaysian market to obtain services as easily as they would with Grabtaxi apps. Kaodim’s portfolio of investors includes Venture Capital, East Ventures, 500 Startups, and Beenext.
Kaodim earns by charging MYR3 to MYR 20 (US$1 to US$6) to suppliers for posting proposals on the platform. The charge also applies for responding to requests; however, it remains free for customers to use. Kaodim was launched in Malaysia in 2014 and now operates in 4 Major Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Kaodim currently has over 500 vendors though they do not disclose the amount of customers they get a day. The company says that tens of thousands of services providers have gotten deals already.
How Kaodim Works
Customers need to download the app and input the personal information on the fields provided. Kaodim in turn provides results on qualified service providers in various categories including home, fitness, automobiles, classes, business services, and events. Each time a customer needs a supplier, they simply need to open the app and indicate their request after which the supplier is given the opportunity to respond and connect by sending a quote. Kaodim has protocols in place to ensure that both customers and suppliers are safe at all times. These practices include:
Each time a new service provider signs up on the site, Kaodim requires them to indicate their registration number and verify identities of contact persons. Kaodim reviews public records, services provided, addresses and phone numbers by confirmation through email, telephone or personal meetings to ensure that customers can easily contact suppliers when needed.
A supplier’s profile must include contact details, expertise, background, license, experience and information about his services. All service providers are encouraged to share their website and social media links for review.
Suppliers have a public profile on the Kaodim website which displays reviews from previous customers. The evaluation of customers is prioritized to encourage suppliers to always provide quality and professional services at all times.
For customers: 3 easiest steps to get your job done
- Get matched
Customers need to input their needs on the site and matched professionals will be provided with a platform to initiate contact.
Compare quotes and profiles from suppliers.
Choose a supplier, set an appointment, pay them and write a review when the job has been done.
For Service Providers
- Kaodim sends you job requests.
- It decides if you really need the job.
- You are hired by Kaodim.
ServisHero is a Malaysian-based mobile service marketplace which was founded by Karl Loo. The business was the result of an epiphany that occurred when Loo’s efforts in finding a repairman for his air-conditioner became a big challenge. Loo then decided to establish a business that would easily enable customers to locate suppliers. ServisHero is free for customers to use and suppliers are charged a fee to respond to requests. Investors of ServisHero include Golden Gate Ventures and Cradle Seed Ventures.
ServisHero was established in 2015 and is currently available in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Their mission is to provide customers with easy access to trusted suppliers, who then are given an opportunity to earn more with better visibility. Service categories of ServisHero currently include home, fitness, events and learning.
ServisHero has received more than 50,000 downloads to date and has 3,000 service suppliers.
How ServisHero Works
Customers need to download the ServisHero app then fill out details on the form provided. When the customer submits a form with all the necessary details provided, the app matches the requested needs with a qualified supplier, known as the “hero”, who will then send a quote. Customers can choose to review multiple quotes and profiles then hire a supplier they deem most capable for their service requirements.
For Customers: Find trusted service professionals
- Get introduced
Submit a job request form, answer basic questions and get harmonized to right professionals.
Review the personal profiles, contact info, detail and rating of providers.
Now, make your mind and decide to hire the most trusted service provider in helping you to accomplish your job.
For Service Providers:
To get hired by ServisHero, suppliers first need to create a profile which is used to respond to customers in order to bid for a job. Suppliers are encouraged only to reply to requests that they are capable of doing proficiently. There are 3 main steps involved in landing a job with ServisHero:
- Supplier receives notification for job request
- Supplier provides quote
- Customer chooses suitable supplier
|Home||Aircond, Cleaning, Electrical, Plumbing, Home repair, Interior design Catering, Appliances repair, Pest control service, Security, CCTV & Alarm, Gardening, Relocators and Movers||Air conditioning, Cleaning, Electrical, Plumbing|
|Fitness||Health food & beverages, Personal training, Rehabilitation & Wellness||Yoga, Pilates, Personal training & Swimming|
|Events||Catering, Wedding services, Photographer/videographer, Office events & Entertainment||Caterer, Event Planners, Photographer/Videographer|
|Lessons/Learning||Language/Academic/Professional lesson, Lifestyle/Hobby Lesson||Language class & Tuition (Primary/Secondary)|
|Automotive/Transport||Office Relocators & Movers Service||X|
|Office||Software/Hardware Support, Freelance/Professional Service, Office Cleaning/Maintenance Service, Office Events||
It is difficult to compare revenue and users as both companies have been mum on the topic in several recent interviews. They make claims like tens of thousands of services have been matched and millions of dollars of transactions have taken place, but neither company posts data on these metrics.
Finding qualified professionals remains a challenge for Asia’s no. 1 service provider, ServisHero. Malaysian businesses often find it difficult to hire new talent; in fact in 2015, only 56% of the total Malaysian population expressed their desire to be hired. The greatest advantage that ServisHero enjoys is to empower small business sector industries by improving economy and driving growth.
Kaodim operates in a highly competitive environment, where customers have ample of choices available to opt from. However, Kaodim is still facing certain challenges in terms of adoption and usage. Introducing technological innovation to a traditional service industry in Malaysia has been slow in getting customers and suppliers to adopt to the platform. For this reason the company had to think of more innovative ways to get people to use the site, this is why they have several promotions ongoing.
Ultimately, the jury is still out on which company will come out in the lead. Both companies like to see themselves as the leader in the market and both claim that they are changing consumer behavior-perhaps this kind of competition isn’t all bad. However, as both Malaysian services keep branching out into the same markets across SE Asia, one is certain to make it while the other fails. Kaodim seems confident of a win, citing their ‘localized’ strategy, though consistently only pointing to a name change in Phillipines (from Cantonese koadim to Gawin in Tagalog). There’s still a lot ahead for these two companies. Which one will achieve success, though, is still not clear.