Asia might make a promising market for carsharing. Depending on where you live, cars are either too expensive or rendered useless by traffic congestion. These problems give carsharing intiatives an invitation to come in, which is why iCarsclub wants to be an early player in this space.
The Singapore startup has been working on their solution for months, and after delays with finalizing their motor insurance terms, it finally launched on 12 December.
Collaborative consumption for motor vehicles is not new in the world or even Asia. This year, we’ve seen ridesharing apps enter the market, offering users the ability to split costs on a cab fare or find a carpooler to share a ride to work. Governments are particularly supportive of this concept due to its public benefits: Reducing air pollution and traffic congestion. Read more
US short-term rental website Airbnb is stepping up its expansion into Asia, with an office already being set up in Singapore, reported CNET Asia.
The writer notes that instead of acquiring a local player, a strategy that Birchbox and Groupon employs, Airbnb has decided to compete directly with the likes of Roomorama, Travelmob, and iBilik instead. It will also be fighting for market share with 9flats, a German company that set up shop in Singapore last year.
Users accessing the Airbnb website in Singapore will be instantly redirected to www.airbnb.com.sg. The site has support for many Asian currencies like the Indonesian Rupiah, Japanese Yen, and the Philippine Peso. However, only English is available for now.
Singapore-based short-term rental marketplace Travelmob announced yesterday that it has raised USD1M in seed funding. The round is led by Jungle Ventures with participation from Silicon Valley VC firm Accel Partners and private investors around the region.
Founded in July 2012, Travelmob allows hosts to list their place on the website as travel accommodation for tourists. It is similar to sites such as Airbnb, 9flats, and Roomorama.
The startup is founded by Turochas “T” Fuad and Prashant Kirtane. Turochas was the managing director for Skype Asia while Prashant was the senior director of engineering at Yahoo!. Read more
By October this year, if you happen to be at One-North, Singapore’s technology nerve center, don’t be surprised to see people zipping about on environmentally-friendly electric bicycles. Working hard to make this happen is Clean Mobility Singapore, the company behind Smove, an electric vehicle sharing service.
For now though, the fleet of bicycles are stored in the company’s office at Block 71. Bicycle parts lie around, mixed with electrical components, soldering machines, and circuit boards. The office resembles a cross between a workshop and a high-tech startup haunt.
Currently, the company is testing a rack of 3 bicycles in an empty plot of land behind the building. Kinks will need to be ironed out, and more racks installed at various locations before the public can use it.
The bicycles will be the third mode of transport Smove is introducing. It launched a car sharing service barely over a month ago, following by a shuttle option — essentially a reserve-only taxi service. Servicing customers are 6 white Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars marked with the Smove logo. Some of them are plugged into charging stations at the parking lots in front of Block 71. More charging stations have been placed at Pixel Building, Biopolis, Insead, and Fusionopolis. Read more
Traveling on a taxi is expensive in Singapore: A trip from a housing estate to the Central Business District could easily set you back S$20 or more.
A new mobile app called GoMyWay can make it cheaper, and you could even make some new friends in the process. Available on the iPhone now before its official launch this week, the app lets you search for riders in the vicinity and contact them to arrange for a shared taxi ride together.
You can either key in your destination, and the app will generate a list of people near you that are going to roughly the same place, or you can post a trip and hope that others will join you. Read more
SquareStays is a property rental site built with The Sharing Engine.
The Sharing Engine has all the trendy buzzwords: Social commerce, sharing economy, peer-to-peer rentals. Put them all together, and you have a compelling new startup.
Put it simply, The Sharing Engine is a white label online service that lets you create your own Airbnb for any product category. If you’re new to the technology scene, Airbnb is a online short-term rental marketplace that lets a tourist rent vacation homes from owners in other countries.
Since Airbnb became the latest poster boy of Silicon Valley, clones have popped up around the world. There’s probably an Airbnb for cars, yachts, and anything under the sun that isn’t in use 24 hours a day. Read more
Lofty's landing page.
Roomorama, a Singapore-based vacations rental site, has merged with Lofty, a similar service, to scale up their business, reported TechCrunch.
They’ve also secured US$2.1M in seed funding from individuals like Jose Marin and venture capital firms PROFounders, Lerer Media, and Thrive Capital.
Lofty will be folded into Roomorama’s existing platform, with their B2B sales and management team transferred over but not their technical side. Read more
Singapore-based Crystal Horse Investments announced that they have pumped in an undisclosed sum of second round funds into Malaysia-based Ocision, which owns and manages iBilik, a short term rentals site in the vein of AirBnb and Roomorama. Read more
Whenever you have unused items at home, the usual option is to sell them cheaply or give them away. Now, Rent Tycoons, an online peer-to-peer rental service, lets you rent stuff out instead.
The website is started by Swito Yuber and Fenni Wang out of their own needs. Fenni was frustrated with the clutter in her storage room and wanted to clear out the items to make space. She shared her problem with Swito, who also had unused items at home and thought about renting it out. Read more
The Roomorama co-founders believe their short-term rentals website can compete with Airbnb.
The downside of trailing behind a market leader is that you’re often compared with them. Sites like Roomorama, 9flats, and Wimdu certainly have to deal with this reality — since Airbnb was the first to launch their short term rentals site in August 2008.
But just because you’re last off the starting block doesn’t mean you’ll flounder. Facebook, for example, quickly overtook Friendster and MySpace to become the defacto social network for Bieber-idolizing teens and longsighted grannies alike.
Roomorama is more accurately described as a fraternal twin than a clone. The website, co-founded by Singaporean Teo Jia En and Italian native Federico Folcia, was birthed in January 2009 — just five months after Airbnb.
But the idea was already developing while they were colleagues at the Bloomberg office in New York City. As avid travelers, they found it challenging to get cheap accommodation while vacationing in Europe.
At the same time, while they wanted to rent out their own apartment, existing online classifieds were hard to use and inconvenient.
Their business idea blossomed. And now, with more than 30,000 listed properties around the globe, the team has recently shifted part of their base of operations to Singapore to focus on growth in the Asian markets. Read more