Graaab enhances neighbourhood security, communication, convenience | Digital Asia
- RM7 million from issuance of 20% shares and a user base of 210 communities
- Plans to organise forum for property stakeholders to market app and increase engagement
DEVELOPED by Red Ideas Holdings Bhd, The Graaab Jaga app is built upon three main pillars namely security, communication and convenience. Although the app’s name Graaab is pronounced akin to the unicorn ride-hailing app Grab, it differs greatly in functionality and purpose.
The founders, David Foo and Ignatius Ho, admit that Grab.com was their first preference in name, but they settled for Graaab.com after MyTeksi rebranded themselves to Grab. “Nonetheless, the three A’s in our name are apt since our core business is centred on three pillars and three main parties comprising of residents, guards and the management office uses our app every day,” Ho explains.
In 2013, an inconvenience Foo faced at the condominium building he was residing at triggered an idea for the Graaab platform. “I urgently needed to go to the bank one day when the lifts of my condominium were out of order and residents were not informed,” he says.
After walking down 18 floors that day, Foo shared his frustration with Ho, his long-time friend and ex-colleague. Deciding that they should come up with an app to make their lives easier, Foo says “We thought there should be a better way to disseminate information. Since safety is also a major concern among Malaysians, we also wanted to promote a safer neighbourhood.”
From the initial idea, Ho says it took two years and a large initial investment to develop the Graaab platform. “We took a long time to have our idea materialise into something we could sell and eventually registered the app in December 2015.”
Growing across Malaysia
Following this, the company started selling its solution towards the end of the first quarter of 2016. The company has listed on the LEAP Market of Bursa Malaysia in November 2017 and raised RM7 million for a 20% issuance of new shares.
“Currently, our Graaab Jaga app is used in 210 neighbourhoods across the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. We started off with only about five customers in the first six months and have since grown.” The main area of user concentration is the Klang Valley which constitutes 80% while Penang’s user base is around the 10% mark.
With the funds raised and progress Graaab has made, the company recently moved to a larger space to accommodate its ever-growing team from the initial six-person core team. With a bigger office space, the company has incorporated table tennis into its spatial organisation.
The new space is a refreshing change from the previous office where they were forced to set up foldable tables for their employees to work at.
Touching on competing with other tech startups for talent, Ho says “Since we’re made up predominantly of a younger crowd, we offer certain ‘perks’ to become more attractive to potential hires.”
Three core elements
Sharing the details of the app, the founders say that the general public often associates the platform mainly with security, especially since ‘Jaga’ in the Malay language means security guard. “It is important to note that the three elements of convenience, communication and security are present in every feature we create.”
Once downloaded, the app provides access to community forms for the booking of facilities, intercom and even an emergency button feature. In terms of visitor management, it does away with the need for a residential intercom phone system. Instead, the resident is able to issue QR codes to visitors for scanning at the entry point.
Access to the app is only available by invitation if you reside in a neighbourhood that subscribes to Graaab. Currently, neighbourhoods are charged a flat fee of RM600 per month for each entry control point.
While the most used part of the app is visitor management, the app has a comprehensive and functional menu for residents to use facilities and services available in the neighbourhood. “Myservices in the app allows you to book vendors such as cleaners, carwash, dog walkers and repairmen,” Ho shares.
Sharing more details of the services of vendors, Ho says “We work with third party companies who do the vetting for the individual service providers. Once a resident books a service, our concierge team facilitates the booking process and obtains feedback after the service is rendered.”
While traditionally people would ask their close contacts for recommendations of servicemen, the trend is shifting with more and more people resorting to a search on online platforms. This, however, gives rise to concerns of security.
“With us facilitating the process, it gives some sort of confidence and comfort to the user versus them directly dealing with the vendor,” Ho shares
In a bid to create more community engagement among stakeholders in the property management sector, the company is looking to organise a forum to bring together committee members of residential associations, joint management bodies, developers, property managers and security personnel.
Targeted for the third or fourth quarter of 2018, Ho says “The forum is aimed at raising awareness of the Graaab Jaga app service as well as to create more community engagement.”
Although more details of the forum are yet to be announced, the founders believe “Having a knowledgeable and informed committee is the first step in ensuring that a community is well managed and safe to live in.”
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