Entrepreneur

From A Taxi Booking App, This M'sian Startup Pivoted To Leverage On The Food Economy

Making a change is always a risky step, even moreso when it deals with consumer service. Once the public has accustomed your brand to a certain image, taking a big leap and revamping the entire concept behind the enterprise comes with its cons.

But that did not stop this startup from pursuing their goal and stepping into that uncertain zone to bring a new app with plans on carrying more than one function.

Taking A Leap Ahead

Image Credit: Roader
Image Credit: Roader

The startup, Roader as a whole is not necessarily new. Having been operating under the name “TaxiMonger” since Feburary 2012, they first were recognised as an app specifically for booking taxis. It came to a halt when they soon began to realise how bigger competitors were jumping into the picture and the industry was becoming too saturated for them to survive.

“The main reason for the pivot from being a transportation service app to a multi-utility app is because we want to cater to other niche markets and not simply rely on just the transportation application space which is currently being monopolised by more well-known names such as Grab and Uber,” said Roader App to Vulcan Post.

So to make themselves entirely unique, they decided to expand their target market to not only one different sector but three. This is done in hopes they’d be able to reach a wider audience and satisfy the needs of many Malaysians rather than focusing on just one area.

Hence the name ‘Roader’, which was chosen based on the idea that they could offer a variety of services all within one app rather than having to download multiple apps in a consumer’s mobile. The services they seek to offer are namely Ride, Delivery and OnDemand which are catered to fit the daily needs of people living within the Klang Valley area.

Currently, the Roader team consists of 12 people and the app was officially launched in April 2016.

The First Feature

Image Credit: Roader
Image Credit: Roader

Prior to the holy month of Ramadhan in May 2016, the Roader team rolled out their first feature called Roader Kitchen. It can be found in the “On-Demand” section of their app and has an accumulated amount of 950 downloads with a total of 700 active users.

“Our orders have spiked considerably after the Hari Raya holidays and we currently have an average of 40 orders per day from our 20 registered cook partners,” shared Roader.

Seeing as how this was the first feature to be introduced after their decision to revamp their entire brand, the team claims it is still too early to say which will be the most commercially successful. They prefer to release each Roader service in stages in order to be able to gauge what exactly the consumers would use the most out of all their options.

When asked on how the pivot has changed their startup, Roader replied, “We believe that the change from a one service to multi-service app has definitely brought a big impact as we are able to reach a different segment and customer base to further expand our capability to cater to all our customers needs.

As we were only operating in the transportation application space, we were only limited to customers that require taxi rides and now with Roader, our current base of customers and potential users are able to enjoy a variety of other services all under the same app.”

Obstacle To Overcome

Image Credit: Roader
Image Credit: Roader

Seeing as this startup had made a rather drastic change compared to the average enterprise, the challenges Roader had faced were also different. The biggest challenge they claimed was getting the right team together to bring the project into reality.

“In the process, some of our experienced staff even decided to move on but we took it in our stride, managed the challenges and became stronger together. The lowest point I’d say was losing our experienced staff and not having funders believe in the direction of our vision for Roader but we managed to make the best out of the situation and grow our project from the ground up,” said Roader.

Though their future timeline consists of bigger ideas, Roader wants to keep their main focus on the home-cooked delivery service of their startup in order to grow the brand as a whole.

“We are planning in the near future to tie up more cook partners, hire more riders for delivery and expand our customer base. In the long term we aim to branch out our food delivery service for Roader Kitchen to the entire Klang Valley as now we are only catering to areas of a radius of 15–20km from our office in Plaza Damansara,” said Roader.

For now, it remains to be seen if the pivot will help or hurt them, but the team seems to be very optimistic about the future.

Feature Image Credit: Roader

 

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