Mark Lim, 34 and Timothy Khor, 28, noticed that railing-hailing prices tend to fluctuate erratically.
Rates were also different across multiple apps ranging from private-hire app Grab to taxi operator ComfortDelGro.
For example, the quoted rate on one app could be S$2 to S$3 lower on another app for the same destination.
“That couple of dollars per trip can add up to a lot, and that is the power of accumulation,” said Mark, co-founder and CEO of ride-hailing price comparison app SPUR.
A Fascination With Data Spurred Them To Create An App
The both of them have always been fascinated by data, and how it can be used to empower consumers.
They decided to look at building an aggregator business model around the ride-hailing industry.
In April this year, they launched SPUR, an app which aggregates and lists fare ranges from three main ride-hailing providers in Singapore: ComfortDelGro, Grab and Gojek.
“SPUR was born out of COVID-19, a time where we thought to ourselves how we can help commuters save money,” said Mark.
The name — SPUR — means to move forward, to encourage and to provide incentive.
SPUR uses the Land Transport Authority’s open APIs (application programming interface), which allows two applications to talk to each other.
Both co-founders have had experience building startups and software.
Mark, an aerospace engineer by trade, had spent eight years building Singapore’s first 3D printing business called 3D Matters. It has since been sold, and is currently valued at a seven-figure sum.
Prior to starting SPUR, he served as a co-founder and COO in an automotive tech startup from 2019.
On the other hand, Timothy is an accountant by trade. He had spent two years building an aggregated all-in-one tourism app that was incubated and accelerated by both SPRING SG and NTUitive.
He also has four years of experience in building Big Data Analytics for OCBC Bank and ThermoFisher Scientific, and brought S$5 million of productivity savings per year.
He currently serves as co-founder and CTO of SPUR.
How Accurate Is The App?
The SPUR app showed that a ride from Orchard MRT Station to Northpoint City costs S$16.18 to S$18.18 on ComfortDelGro and Gojek, and S$18 to S$20 on Grab.
A quick check on the respective apps showed S$16.20 for Gojek and S$19 for Grab, which were fairly accurate.
However, it showed S$18.30 (excluding ERP charges) on ComfortDelGro, which was slightly off. With ERP charges included, it was more than S$20 on the ComfortDelGro app.
“Currently we have no contact with Grab and Gojek as our algorithms are independent of them and we make use of data that is available publicly,” said Mark.
This is why they used the transactions of around 600 end-users to come up with its fare ranges.
Some of the app reviews mentioned that SPUR does not take into account peak surcharges for Grab and Gojek, and seems to show the default range pricing at any time.
It does not consider ERP charges for taxis either.
Mark said that he is heartened by comments and reviews he has received so far, and will “continue to improve the application to serve them better.”
May Include SMRT, Tada, Plans To Work With Transport Rental Firms
SPUR currently has more than 4,000 app downloads and see close to five users every minute on a daily average. This translates to about 4,300 events taking place a day on the app.
It is currently looking at approaching other ride-hailing firms such as SMRT and Tada, to be included on the app.
In terms of other future plans, Mark shared that they are planning to enter the logistical last mile delivery space, and venture into fleet/route optimisation for B2B transport companies.
“We also intend to connect with SMEs who run rental fleets, smaller taxi and limo firms to name a few, and have them as options that are available on our app interface.
“We hope to be able to give our users as many options as possible, while remaining agnostic to the larger platforms,” he added.
He also did not rule out overseas expansion.
Expanding to either Indonesia, Thailand or Myanmar — some of the top ride-hailing Southeast Asian markets — is also something they are currently considering.
Featured Image Credit: SPUR