If you thought hailing a cab in New York is impossible, try waiting for an hour for a ride in a major city in Asia. Lompang, a Singapore-based app, aims to help passengers hitch a ride on private scooters.
“For us, it has always been about filling empty seats and connecting like-minded people who just want to help each other out,” Fu, one of Lompang’s founders, said. “Inspiration for this idea came from standing at a cab stand for almost an hour, watching cars and motorcycles go by with empty seats, and thinking, ‘How brilliant would it be if one could just jump onto one of those seats?’”
The app, launched last December by Erfi Azhar and Aaron Fu, is the latest example of a trend of ridesharing apps that has been all the rage in Asia, the Tech Node reported on Monday. This week, Lyft, another ride-sharing app, raised $250 million from investors including Alibaba, Coatue and Third Point. Lompang is innovative in connecting passengers with motorcyclists who might be heading in the same direction, instead of with drivers.
Lompang is a uniquely Singaporean expression meaning to request favor from someone who might be going one’s way.
Since launch the company has been slowly ramping up, adding about 30 to 50 user accounts each week to ensure a good balance of passengers and empty seats. Riders are charged a flat fee of one Singapore dollar (79 cents) after each successful match. To facilitate expansion, the company is looking for angel investors.
“We make it absolutely clear that we are a community helping each other out and are not to be used as a source of income,” Fu said. The Lompang team interviews each motorcyclist personally, to ensure they are in school or are employed, to discourage profiteering, according to the Tech Node.
The company's tagline, "Hitch a ride and make new friends!" reflects that philosophy. The homepage outlines steps for a motorcyclist to become a "rider," which end with the enthusiastic prompt, "Go forth and make friends!"
The young company already has its eyes set on expanding outside Singapore. The team has just started testing the app in Yangon, the commercial center of Myanmar, and will begin testing in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, later this month.