Have you experienced spending the whole day waiting for the cooking gas truck to come to your neighbourhood? Or have you ever waved frantically, trying to hail the gas truck but the driver didn’t notice you? If you answered yes, this new startup might just be the solution for you.
Officially started its operations in October 2015, GrabGas is a platform which connects customers with cooking gas delivery drivers via mobile and GPS technology. With just a few taps, it allows customers to search for the drivers nearest to them. By using this service, customers will not need to constantly be on the lookout for the ‘gas man’, worrying that they might miss the moment the gas truck pass by your house.
The Eureka Moment of GrabGas
The idea came about when GrabGas’ CEO, Sean Hoo was complaining how hard was it to order cooking gas. He and his colleague Jeson Lee (now COO of GrabGas) joked about starting an Uber-like service for gas delivery but they didn’t take it seriously until three weeks later where Sean was still eating out and couldn’t get cooking gas delivered to him. They then start to see the flaw of the gas delivery industry in Malaysia and struck them that perhaps this could be THE opportunity.
They validated the idea of GrabGas by asking customers in grocery stores through surveys about their gas-ordering experience. Other than that, they also approached various drivers about their gas-delivering methods to see if their app could help them improve in terms of orders management. At the end of the research process, they realised that the potential in this startup idea is huge.
Sure enough, they caught the attention of experience banker Gabriel Lim who came to be their CFO of the startup.
How GrabGas Works
Currently, GrabGas is only taking orders via their website, and only operates within Petaling Jaya. The website is designed to be as simple as possible, making it easy for everyone to place their orders without having to go through complex procedure.
They are currently developing an automated chatbot system for the older generation to order via SMS, Wechat and Messenger—which is very thoughtful seeing as it’s usually the older folk who are acquainted with the kitchen. With the chatbot, customers are able to place an order without going through their website or app, which will be rolled out in the near future.
Furthermore, the website and app is designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible. Required personal information is kept minimal and online payment isn’t even necessary as customers can opt to pay via cash on delivery.
To place an order:
Visit www.grabgas.com and click Order Now.
Step 1: Select their particular LPG brand, size and quantity.
Step 2: Insert Name, Address, Preferred time and notes (if any).
Step 3: Enter Phone Number to receive one time password code
Step 4: View summary of your orders
Step 5: Enter the GrabGas code that is sent via SMS from us into the system.
Each gas cylinder costs about RM28-RM33 (including delivery), depending on the customer’s residential area and the driver’s delivery charges.
Revolutionising The Gas Industry
They’re off to a slow and steady start—with nearly 500 orders so far in the past half year from their beta site—because they wanted to build their driver base to strengthen their supply, as well as collect data points to get to know them better.
(Editor’s update on 26th of August 2016: A blog post written by an ex-developer at GrabGas claims that this number is inaccurate.)
COO of GrabGas Jesen Lee told Vulcan Post, “Our vision is to revamp and digitalise gas delivery in South East Asia, starting with Malaysia”. They have a 5-year plan that aims to expands to Thailand and Philippines, as well as venture into other logistic industries such as groceries, household items and foods by 2018. By the fifth year, also the year 2020, they aim to be the top on-demand logistic delivery company in Asia Pacific.
Having those goals in mind, the team has committed their time and even their day job for this. Sean himself is driving GrabGas forward as his full-time pursuit, Gabriel quit his high-paying full-time job to take up a more flexible part-time one so that he could spend more time on building the startup.
Hopefully their drive and faith in the startup will give them the necessary fuel to drive GrabGas ahead.
Follow them on their Facebook page for more updates.