As Malaysians, we spend a lot of time hanging out at our favourite mamak joint, having conversations about how we should do this or make that. But what happens when one actually goes out and does it?
Just ask Francesca Chia, the co-founder of GoGet, Malaysia’s first marketplace for errands and deliveries. As with every other employee in their mid-20s would understand, the workforce can be an exhausting experience, leaving little time to do virtually anything else. One of Chia’s mamak conversations revolved around this matter, and working in the consulting industry certainly gave Chia enough reason to ask the question: what if we could pay someone to run our errands?
Enter GoGet. Touted as Malaysia’s first marketplace for errands and deliveries, GoGet is an app that is tailored for the busy individual. You post a job on GoGet to do an errand – anything from some last-minute grocery shopping to stringing your racquet – and interested GoGetters will do the job for you at an agreed price.
Of course, the very idea behind GoGet wasn’t as grand. Chia recollected that the particular mamak session that inspired GoGet was, above everything else, about food. “Each of us has a memory database of good food. But the pain isn’t in knowing; it is in getting there, queueing up, parking… Why not have a delivery service run by other people?”
Chia has a point. In the US, there’s Yelp, while in Hong Kong there’s OpenRice – both serve as a platform for consumers to have good food delivered to their doorstep. While there are a few notable food delivery services in Malaysia, none offers the option of having someone run down to that mamak restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail to get your favourite Maggi goreng.
But from food, the idea quickly expanded into what it is today. It took Chia and her team about nine months to get the idea from conception into an actual product during their spare time, and eventually GoGet became a full-time project for Chia.
So how does GoGet work? “Think of us as similar to MyTeksi or Airbnb, or even eBay,” Chia says. Each of these serves as a platform for a seller to use to attract buyers. GoGet is the same, only in this case the product being sold is, in the grand scheme of things, time.
GoGet is tailored for those who are busy, or those who do not have the transport or even the knowledge to do something, and connect them with those who matches the criteria, and are willing to be paid for their services. A seller – known as a Poster – would post a job, set a time when it needs to be done and then sets a tip for completing the job. Interested GoGetters (those who sign up to do jobs for others) can then browse through available jobs, and select those which they would like to do (and where the tip is good enough).
When a job has been selected, the buyer and seller can communicate via in-app messaging to keep each other posted. At the end of the job, both the buyer and seller are required to leave a rating and review, which over time determines their reputation on the platform. In the GoGet community, trust is important – which is also why GoGetters are manually screened before they are allowed to take jobs.
In the time since GoGet’s inception, the platform has seen its fair share of odd job requests. Chia fondly retells the time when a man requested for 12 individually-wrapped roses on Valentine’s Day 2014; the man turned out of be a boss who presented the roses to each of his 12 female employees. Another memorable recollection was when someone placed an unusually high tip for a job to buy chilli in KL; it turned out to be a quest for Jolokia, one of the world’s hottest chillies (it’s 900.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce).
There were plenty more such jobs, but while the platform makes many a busy life easier, a pertinent question inevitably crops up: would GoGet then reward laziness? Does this platform open an avenue for those who are simply too lazy to do things themselves?
Chia ponders for a moment, and gave a mildly satisfied smile. “Actually, no.”
“GoGet is quite the opposite. It empowers people by creating opportunities that rewards hard work at a higher rate than normal part time jobs,” she continued. And she has the stats to back her up. A big chunk of verified GoGetters are students, freelancers, housewives and those who work 9-5 jobs who all share a similar goal: to earn some extra money.
Plus, the instant gratification of being paid on the spot gels very well with the millennials.
Then, another question is raised: how would GoGet generate income to sustain itself? Since its inception about a year ago, it has yet to charge any transaction fees of any sort. This, Chia explains, is because GoGet’s inception was more of a pilot project to see “if it works at all”, and is more of a beta phase with very limited coverage: at the time of writing, GoGet is limited to jobs posted within select areas in the Klang Valley.
Thankfully, the project struck a chord with consumers as well as with potential investors. GoGet was shortlisted in the top 20 in the Alliance Bank SME Innovation Challenge 2014 (which earned a mentorship programme with Microsoft Malaysia), and has also received RM150,000 in Cradle funding. GoGet was also selected to take part in the Stanford programme with MaGIC, a two-week program which includes mentorship sessions with Stanford professors, meeting similar startups and finally a visit to Facebook, Google and Twitter’s offices in the US.
Moving forward, GoGet will now work with VLT and MaGIC to fund its next product, which will see GoGet introduce featured ads, a more scalable backend and most importantly, an integrated payment system.
At the moment, GoGet remains fully operational and free of charge for users. Though it is fairly low-key, it has managed to attract plenty of merchants for strategic partnerships – GoGet does not charge a cent, anyway, which makes it a no-brainer for merchants. Popular burger joint Myburgerlab, Mikey’s Pizza in Bangsar and even Chatime have engaged in partnerships with GoGet in recent months.
GoGet is expected to exit its pilot project phase and release its new app sometime in the second quarter of this year. In the meantime, those in the Klang Valley who are interested in using GoGet can sign up via its official website here, or see what it’s all about via its Facebook page. Android users can download the app here.