You’ve probably heard something along the lines of how many startups generally don’t have a long lifespan.
According to Small Business Trends, 44% of the thousands of startups that pop up every year don’t make it past 4 years of life.
We’ve featured a few Malaysian ones who never even made it past a year, but we’ve also featured a number of local startups in 2015 (and late 2014) who, over 4 years later, are still alive and growing. And here they are, in alphabetical order.
BloomThis is an online flower delivery service that first started with a subscription model but has since added on-demand flowers, same-day deliveries, and packages for events and occasions to their services. Back then they were doing about a hundred deliveries a week, but when we last caught up with them this past August, we were informed that they now deliver more than a hundred orders per day.
In the span of about 4 months since starting up in 2015, Carsome had already helped its near-200 users save up a total of RM500,000 thanks to its car price comparison platform. Later, it transformed into a platform for used car sales. In 2018, they received Series B funding of US$19 million to bolster their expansion in other ASEAN countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Back when we first featured dahmakan, they still went by Dah Makan and offered a free ukulele along with a refund if you were an unsatisfied customer. Born out of the 3 co-founders’ shared difficulty of eating better when busy at the office, dahmakan still has the same objective 4 years later: to be the healthier food delivery option compared to your regular GrabFood or Foodpanda orders.
Our first feature of DeliverEat wasn’t focused on its business story so much as it was on its female co-founder, Shir Mein Leong. Nonetheless, we’ve since written several other articles on them over the past 4 years as well, all of which you can find here. From its humble beginnings in Penang, it’s now moved into the competitive KL food delivery scene too.
Doctor2U began as an app that would get a doctor to your house in 60 minutes, and over the years has expanded its services to include prescription medicine delivery, live chat and video call consultations, and on-demand ambulances.
6. Eat Cake Today
Who would’ve ever thought that being able to order a cake and get it delivered in 4 hours for that nearly-forgotten birthday celebration would be a service that many would need? 4 years on, Eat Cake Today is staying true to its name by still doing 4-hour same-day deliveries, so that’s good news for those of us who tend to be forgetful.
7. Epic Fit Meals Co.
Epic Fit Meals Co. is another startup that’s keeping to its original philosophy, and coincidentally, is also a startup that does edible deliveries. Back in 2015, they started out by guaranteeing that meals would be delivered in 45 minutes. In 2019, according to their website, it’s still a promise they’re keeping.
This is probably one startup you’ve heard of plenty of times, if not for what it does, then because of one of its co-founders, Vivy Yusof. Being particularly prominent on social media, she’s one of Malaysia’s most well-known entrepreneurs in the fashion industry. In 2010, she and her then-friend, now-husband, Fadzarudin Anuar founded FashionValet together. 9 years later, it’s still thriving.
At the end of 2015, we wrote an article where we highlighted several new startups to look forward to in 2016. Favful, a TripAdvisor-like platform for beauty products which was still in its beta stage then, was on the list. In 2017, its founder Sasha Tan was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30, so her work with Favful definitely bore fruit.
Founded in 2014, GoGet is a marketplace for errands. Part-timers on the platform who take up jobs ranging from admin work to something as simple as picking up your groceries are called GoGetters. When they first launched, we found ourselves wondering whether this model would work in Malaysia, but we’re now convinced that it does.
11. Happy Bunch
Happy Bunch is another flower delivery startup on this list. Just over a year after its establishment, this subscription-based business started by 2 mothers had already delivered 30,000 flower bunches. Today, they do same-day deliveries, with a bunch from Happy Bunch starting from as low as RM47.
Started by 2 guys who knew nothing about cosmetics, Hermo is a beauty site that sells skincare and makeup. It’s known for carrying Asian cosmetic brands which has served it well through the immense popularity of K-pop and K-beauty, though you’ll also be able to find some Western brands on the platform.
13. Hostel Hunting
Anyone who’s still going through ‘studenthood’ is bound to have experienced the difficulties of hunting for a place to stay while studying away from home. Hostel Hunting was established in 2014 to ease exactly those difficulties, and today it has a presence in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand with over 142,000 verified listings.
iMoney is a financial comparison website where you can compare credit cards, various loans, broadband plans, insurance plans, and savings and investments to find what matches your needs the best. Backed by a team of ex-bankers, the site is able to easily connect and partner with the banking industry, according to co-founder Lee Ching Wei in 2014.
While it may sound like it, iPrice isn’t exactly iMoney’s brother, though it does deal with the subject of financial comparisons too. It serves as a platform where you can compare the prices of products like electronics and clothing across different platforms. This makes it easy for you to get the best deals for whatever product you’ve currently got your eye on.
16. Just Lorry
Just Lorry is a site where you can book lorries for moving or delivery purposes. Initially, they started out small by offering such services for those moving house, but since then they’ve expanded their services to include ones such as international moving, piano moving, and even disposal services for bulky, unwanted objects.
If GoGet is where you can hire people for casual errands, Kaodim is the site where you can hire individuals with experience in something specific like plumbing, pest control, or even home renovation services. After officially launching their website in the November of 2014, it had already garnered over 1,000 requests for services in under 2 months, and today it still remains one of the most popular platforms for such services.
After a bad personal experience with a workshop, MyTayar.com’s founder, Ridzuwan founded the platform with his wife. While the site’s name may have you thinking that it deals with only tyres, there are actually other services such as battery and oil changing on it too, and you can also buy spare automobile parts at a competitive price.
As inactive as it may appear on its Facebook page, Offpeak.my is still very much operational, as its team assured us. From its directory of restaurants, you can choose what interests you, and from there, make a booking and enjoy the discounts that come with it. Not only is this convenient for restaurant-goers, but it also helps restaurants fill up their seats during off-peak hours.
ParkEasy is a startup that does exactly what its name implies: it wants to help you easily park (in malls). It does this with its app that highlights empty spots that you can reserve for a fee. Despite the controversies that later hit it and the pivots it made, this startup is still going strong in IOI City Mall Putrajaya especially, and has even launched Electric Vehicle charging bays this year.
It’s assumed that most known startups come from our capital, KL, but Piktochart is one that hails from Penang. Founded in 2012, it’s a platform with online tools that allows anyone to create visual stories/infographics, even if they have no design experience. Today, you can also create presentations and flyers on its site with the help of its video tutorials.
PropSocial is a property website whereby users can find honest reviews from the community about properties they’re interested in. This makes it easy for users to make informed decisions before they buy or rent properties. You can also easily view and contact agents of specific properties to get more information.
Helmed by a team of 8 ladies, PurelyB is a portal that seeks to be the ultimate guide for healthy living in Malaysia. You can find healthy products and recipes, nutrition, fitness, and wellness tips as well as discover healthy restaurants and stores by location. It is also able to connect you with experts who can help you in your health journey.
SaltyCustoms was launched by the same team who also launched Doobie and just recently, Yeefu. On its platform, you can customise your shirts and bring your designs to life, though its services are more targeted towards startups, teams, or events where a number of shirts for a certain group or brand are needed.
Speedhome first started as an app called Saywa, and then later renamed itself to Speedrent due to many being unable to figure out the play on the word ‘sewa’ (rent) with the original name. The platform lets landlords secure and rent out their property, and tenants can rent these properties with zero deposit. In 2019, Speedrent rebranded to Speedhome.
Despite being similar to other on-demand service portals out there, Servishero has still managed to make a name for itself in the past 4 years since we featured it in its infancy. On its platform, you’ll find ‘heroes’ to aid you in your home or office maintenance and repair needs.
Much like Just Lorry, TheLorry also offers lorry rentals for individual and corporate customers. Now, they’re focusing more on providing SMEs with logistics solutions and can offer upfront quotations tailored to your needs. They’ve also moved their operations into Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia over the past 4 years.
You’ve probably tried WOBB to look for a job, or perhaps you used it as an employer to showcase your brand story and attract talent. Besides having a cool office itself, it’s also undeniably one of the more easy-to-use platforms for job seekers and employers, and just this August, WOBB bagged RM5.4 million in pre-series A funding.
Travelling is riddled with uncertainties, and female travellers often have more concerns surrounding safety. Here’s where Zafigo came in, 5 years ago, to dedicate a platform to women where they could access travel guides, information, and tips for a safer travel experience in Asia. Today, they’re still active with a community of women travellers who exchange information with one another for safer travels.
While I’m still new to the local startup ecosystem, I’ve definitely learnt a few things: starting up isn’t easy, keeping your startup alive through the years is probably a lot harder, and keeping it growing is a whole other feat in itself.
I don’t believe that startups that have come and gone are in any way the ‘losers’, as there could be a whole lot of factors that cause the demise of a startup.
However, since the focus of this article was on startups that are still alive and growing 4 years after we featured them, I’d just like to say kudos to all 29 who have made this list.
- You can read more on other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: Hostel Hunting / Vivy Yusof / WOBB