Author’s Blurb: As someone who usually brings my powerbank out with me wherever I go (even to work!), I’ve never found a use for those powerbank rental stations you’d see in airports, stations or malls. But recently, I was shocked to find out that I may be part of the minority who always has a powerbank with them.
Dylan Wong and Ng Yong Ching were serious when they set out to establish Rush, a startup for powerbank rental kiosks in 2019.
The long-time friends made sure to do their homework and conducted a survey in Klang Valley on Malaysians’ phone usage and charging habits before launching.
What they learnt was that 56% of the people interviewed do not bring portable mobile charging devices when they are out and about, and would resort to asking around for cables or looking for a power socket to charge their phones.
Meanwhile, 83% of them expressed that they were receptive to powerbank rental services.
Being tech startup veterans with the experience of being in Grab and oBike’s pioneer teams, Dylan and Yong Ching saw an opportunity to address the issue.
A Future Of Poor Battery Life?
In an interview with Vulcan Post, Dylan shared more observations.
He noted that the innovation of phone technologies happened so rapidly nowadays, and the dawn of 5G in Malaysia would only make the issue of poor battery life worse.
According to him, the battery consumption of 5G phones is 2.5x compared to 4G phones.
“However, battery life will be stagnant for the next few years, as battery capacity expansion did not significantly ‘catch-up’ to cater to the actual needs of these new phone features as well as the increased usage by users,” he pointed out.
With Rush powerbanks, Dylan is hoping that they can help the situation. Their powerbanks have a general voltage of 5V, which he claimed can fully charge most phone models in just over an hour.
You can also charge multiple devices at one go as Rush powerbanks come with 3 different connectors: iOS lightning cable, Android Type B, and type C cable.
So, a pretty standard powerbank experience, apart from the fact that you don’t have to bring your own cables out (but that can be said for other powerbank rental players too).
Competition Can Be Healthy
And speaking of other players, Rush faces a rather significant competitor in the Malaysian market.
A Singaporean powerbank rental provider that used to be called Nomo has since rebranded to PowerNow, and has been expanding their services across our nation.
But where I saw this as a potential challenge, Dylan took on a different perspective.
“PowerNow has been in the market for a few years now, which is a very positive indicator that there is a significant market need and demand for powerbank rental services,” he said.
“Furthermore, with more powerbank rental service providers coming in, it will definitely help in increasing user confidence towards the service while benefiting the industry in the long run.”
On Rush’s side, they may have an advantage once they release their reward and advertising platform.
However, with much of it still under wraps at the moment, Dylan declined to share more details, simply saying, “Users can expect to enjoy rewards that are related to their everyday activities and lifestyle by just using Rush powerbanks.”
On top of providing their service, the Rush team also wants to create an ecosystem where they connect their partners and users so that both parties can enjoy the benefits of having Rush as part of their business and everyday life.
“By doing so, Rush users enjoy special discounts/deals at all our partners’ businesses, which then contributes to footfall, sales and additional awareness for all our partners,” Dylan added.
Reaching The Right People
Rush collects no deposits from their users, nor do they require users to top up cash in the app.
They simply need to register for an account in the app using a debit or credit card, then pay per usage (RM 2 for 2 hours).
Since its launch in mid-December, Rush has over 5,000 users so far. Their target demographic is between the ages of 18 to 35, comprised of students, young working adults and those who are constantly on-the-go.
To increase their visibility, the team will be using direct approaches like events, on-ground roadshows as well as through collaborations with their partners.
“For the next 2 years, we will double down on expansion for domestic and international markets,” Dylan said.
“The Southeast Asian market is in the top 6 of the highest internet usage in the world, so expanding to our neighbouring country will be our next strategy.”
Bottom Line: In all honesty, I’m someone who’s super dependent on powerbanks to keep my phone charged. Therefore, having my own powerbank to carry around whenever is a necessity. While I personally don’t see the use for powerbank rental services, I can understand how there are some who might.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups here.
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Featured Image Credit: Rush