9:00 am on Feb 16, 2015
Malaysian startups are moving faster than ever in securing financial backing to boost their growth plans. Just last month, online store aggregator Shoppr closed its seed round within a month since negotiations began. Today, Kaodim went one better with the raising of US$550,000 in seed funding in the same amount of time. Kaodim is an online marketplace for people to find service professionals such as plumbers, decorators, movers, yoga instructors, or pest control specialists.
Kaodim’s round was led by East Ventures (Disclosure: East Ventures is an investor in Tech in Asia. See our ethics page for more information) and participated in by a number of other VCs, including 500 Startups. Coincidentally, East Ventures was the lead investor in Shoppr as well.
When Tech in Asia interviewed the founders in December, the marketplace had around 500 vendors on board, with 400 job requests being made and, correspondingly, 1,300 quotations returned. Kaodim’s co-founder Jeffri Cheong is proud to say that the numbers have increased manifold in the two months since. “As of today, we’re averaging between 120 to 150 job requests a day, with a total of close to 4,000,” he says.
It was this encouraging rate of growth that led East Ventures co-founder Willson Cuaca to put his money in. “In a short period of time, they actually made the product work and nailed down the problem,” Cuaca says. “The team is also decisive and responsive – they make decisions fast and know what they want.”
“Some people thought that it was a little early to be raising, but [Kaodim’s] users and service providers received the product really well from the outset,” explains Cheong. “These businesses [service providers] were growing […] Some businesses have made 50 new clients in three months since using Kaodim. With the traction that we were getting, we felt that it was the right time to seek funding to take Kaodim to the next level in terms of scale and expansion.”
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Before going to the rest of Southeast Asia, though, Cheong says that they want to “dominate Malaysia as a solid foundation for regional expansion” first. The funds will be used to acquire more local users and service providers, as well as to hire talent.
Co-founder Choong Fui-Yu says that they are very happy to be working with their two major investors, East Ventures’ Willson Cuaca and 500 Startups’ Khailee Ng, as they share the vision and purpose behind Kaodim. “We also like the approach the investors took with this round of fundraising, and in business generally – think big, focus on the important stuff, and move quickly,” he adds.
Kaodim’s masterplan for the future is to encompass an even wider range of services, so that these providers can benefit from its platform as well. “We can’t wait to bring this technology to music teachers, party planners, wedding MCs, and the thousands of other services across Southeast Asia that have not experienced much technological innovation as far as getting customers is concerned,” Choong says.