[Written in partnership with PubliCT.io, but the editorial team had full control over the content.]
Have you come across any cars wrapped with branded designs lately? And I’m not talking about the gaudy ones plastered with advertisements, though those certainly get the job done too.
But if you’ve been seeing cars with sleeker and more subtle brand logos, you might have happened upon the innovation of carching.
Rather than using flashy and obvious car wraps, carching is a local startup that offers sleeker car wrap designs that both brands and car owners can genuinely appreciate.
This approach aligns with the aspirations of the brand’s founder and CEO, Jeshua Choong, to empower Malaysians. Having worked in the finance industry for seven years, Jeshua grew tired of the notion of “money makes money”.
“I wanted to channel my time and energy towards something more tangible—solving meaningful equations in society,” he explained.
So, he decided to solve something he was familiar with and passionate about—traffic.
Like most city-dwellers, Jeshua has experienced his fair share of being stuck in traffic jams. Feeling like there should be a way to monetise the time lost from driving around town and being stuck in jams, Jeshua got the foundation for carching, a solution for drivers who want to make some income passively.
On top of this, there’s the fact that car maintenance is not cheap, factoring in depreciation, interest, petrol, parking, and unexpected costs.
“These were the fundamental factors that drove me to find solutions that could solve these inefficiencies and turn our KM into RM,” Jeshua said.
The solutions came in the form of carching’s service today. The startup rolled out its beta app alongside two pilot campaigns with brands from the financial and fitness industry.
“By the end of this month, our eighth campaign will go live and we will have at least 100 carching drivers on the road, allowing us to put back more than RM40,000 into Malaysians’ pockets,” Jeshua explained.
New advertising avenues for brands
carching’s minimum viable product aims to bring adtech to the masses, allowing users to become advocates of brands.
With this plan, carching would not just be putting money back into society passively, but also more value would be generated in each litre of petrol burned. In Jeshua’s opinion, this makes every KM more responsible and sustainable.
Yet, carching believes that it’s bringing something different to the table by prioritising the look and feel of the brand asset on a car.
“Our designs will not only accentuate the brand’s messaging, but also ensure drivers like you and I would be willing to style our car with it,” Jeshua explained.
Jeshua argued that a lot of the options today to earn additional income require an active adjustment to users’ lifestyles, such as with rideshare or food delivery gigs.
carching’s solution, on the other hand, helps the community earn more seamlessly without needing to go the extra mile, literally.
Supporting other local brands
In the months of August to October, carching has decided to work with Malaysian brands in its #supportlokal efforts and Merdeka-based campaigns.
“In light of Merdeka and Malaysia months, we wanted to look for local brands that share a common goal with us, helping the everyday Malaysians,” Jeshua said.
According to the founder, carching is agnostic when it comes to looking for brands. This is as the company customises designs for each campaign, so there’s something for everyone, whether it be a newcomer needing brand awareness or a long-term player who wants to improve brand loyalty.
carching is also capable of customising the campaign size in terms of budget, coverage, and tenure. The startup’s packages start with a minimum of five cars with 600km range per car per month, over a minimum period of one month. These variables can be adjusted upwards.
According to the founder, carching’s service costs startups RM800 per car per month (covering the fee to users and management fee) while the one-off cost to produce the wrap depends on the design and size of the brand asset, which starts from RM400.
The success of carching’s campaigns can be measured by the number of impressions and KM delivered throughout the period.
carching measures the impressions through a multi-stage data selection process using IoT technology and AI image recognition to determine the rate of passing cars in certain areas and timings.
“So far, we have been doing the outreach as we are still new to the industry,” Jeshua reminded. “That being said, even though we have established a strong footing for tomorrow, our strategy is to deploy a multi-channel approach to acquire new business.”
Empowering local drivers
Before getting paid, carching drivers have to fulfil a few criteria. This includes meeting the KM requirement for the month based on the in-app journeys submitted and submitting monthly quality control checks (including pictures of their car exterior and odometer).
Once the app validates those submitted journeys against the QC checks, the drivers will be paid.
“Apart from ensuring that the brand assets are still in good condition from the monthly QC checks, we have stringent acceptance criteria to be part of the community,” Jeshua said.
Users have to submit relevant documents to ensure credibility such as having a valid driver’s license, road tax, and insurance. carching also runs checks to ensure there aren’t any significant outstanding summons, and that the user has not been blacklisted.
Other than the monthly payout, carching also works with brands to provide non-monetary benefits to those drivers. These include vouchers and exclusive products.
“We are also working with partners within the automotive industry or that are related to your everyday commute to provide more value to our users within our ecosystem,” Jeshua shared.
This includes fintech startup Finology that provides cheaper car insurance rates, car servicing company POMEN, car subscription service Flux, and drive-through food service Kejap Food.
Cruising into the future
Currently, carching is working with seven brands, though it aims to increase this down the road.
“We would love to work with brands that Malaysians are excited about, especially those who are in the retail and lifestyle space, fast food operators, travel, FMCG, or even the latest movie launches,” Jeshua expressed.
But doing adtech work with these companies aren’t where things end for the startup.
“Our aspiration is beyond adtech alone,” the founder explained. “Like Google and Facebook, you see them as a giant search engine and social media platform but 70-95% of their revenues is derived from ads. It’s because of this comfortable cash flow that they are able to take on bigger things.”
Jeshua aims to build a strong foundation through advertisement and branding cash flow first, but carching’s true goal is to launch more mobility-based solutions.
This will allow users to continue generating value more seamlessly while driving around or while stuck in traffic.
According to him, the team has started R&D for future products and they expect to open access to the beta version for some of the projects within the next 12 months.
“The main differentiating factor is our north star,” Jeshua said. “Adtech is just a means to an end. Our long-term focus is to be your go-to partner where you can unlock more value with your time spent driving around.”
Featured Image Credit: Jeshua Chong, CEO and founder of carching