In an article by Forbes, it mentioned that 9 out of 10 startups would fail and every startup founder strives to be the one which withstands the test of time. Malaysian startup for lazy people, Bemalas is also trying to fight this stigma. Among other achievements, they achieved seed funding mid last year to further grow their business.
It has been a year since that momentous occasion for Bemalas, and Vulcan Post decided to check in with Adlin Yusman of Bemalas, as he shares what the startup has been up to, and most importantly how much they have grown within the span of a year.
Q: What makes you believe in your business model even after all this time?
A: The sheer number of users that are continuously using us is a good indicator of this. We are still growing more than 100% quarter on quarter.
Q: What are the struggles in supporting the team?
A: One of the challenges is getting the right calibre of new hires to complement the existing team. We are very particular about chemistry.
Q: Is Bemalas growing in terms of revenue, and are you guys breaking even each month?
A: We are growing significantly MoM (Month-On-Month) in terms of top line revenue, and based on current revenue projections will be profitable by the end of 2016.
Q: What is Bemalas’ current strategy to survive as a startup with the current economy that is unstable and, some might say, declining?
A: We have always believed in growth hacking and shaving cost wherever we can and maintain a laser focus target on being profitable.
Q: Bemalas obtained a US$500,000 seed funding in June last year. How has the funding changed the startup or the team in terms of operations and growth?
A: We raised two rounds of funding in the past one year. We have used the cash for growth into 5 markets, invested into technology (dynamic marketplace & the mobile app) and hired capable talents to scale our business up.
Q: Since we last spoke to you, it was mentioned that there is much room to grow in terms of nationwide expansion. Has that been fulfilled and what are the numbers in terms of nationwide expansion?
A: Malaysia remains one of our biggest markets. Collectively we have close to 180,000 Malaysians registered on the platform. I believe there’s ample amount of growth in Malaysia and we intend to maintain our lead here.
Q: What challenges still exist in the market for Bemalas? Are pricing rates or perhaps the mindset towards personal concierge services a problem?
A: I think at this point, conversational commerce is still a new concept. We are also not purely concierge. As such, market education and branding needs to be continued. Even big brands such as Uber and Grab are still promoting their services to educate and acquire new customers.
Q: What are the items to tick off Bemalas’ growth list next?
A: To grow our new business lines—which we’ll announce by the end of July. Some of the achievements we’re very proud of include the fact that CB Insights acknowledged us (the only Malaysian—or even South East Asian) startup that’s set to change commerce globally.
Top of mind on our growth list, we’d like to quadruple our user base in the next 8-12 months, introduce smarter AI assisted bots and continue to strengthen our leadership in the region.
Catching Up is a series where we feature startups we’ve written about before and find out where they are heading and what has transpired. The startup scene is fresh, exciting and constantly changing, so we hope to keep everyone updated on how Malaysian startups are growing.
Feature Image Credits: Adlin Yusman Facebook page