Start Singapore : iFashion raises $1m, aims to build online hub

Roadbull's founder Alwin Liang says he can offer a better service because the start-up owns the vehicles and employs the drivers.
Roadbull's founder Alwin Liang says he can offer a better service because the start-up owns the vehicles and employs the drivers.PHOTO: ROADBULL TECHNOLOGIES

iFashion raises $1m, aims to build online hub

Singapore-based iFashion has raised $1 million from venture capital seed fund Rimu Group.

iFashion wants to build Asia's largest online fashion hub by acquiring other smaller fashion e-commerce stores between three and five years old.

The region's online fashion industry is fragmented as "many brands operate small teams with limited resources", it said in a press release.

iFashion can provide smaller start-ups with services ranging from logistics and warehousing to production and financial services.

Managing director Jeneen Goh said the firm recognises the needs of many young fashion brands and want to help them realise their potential.

She said: "As e-commerce volume and traffic increases, these brands will enjoy the various business services and market knowledge provided by iFashion."

New player in e-logistics business

Another local start-up has entered the e-logistics business.

Roadbull Logistics joins start-ups like Ninja Van, GoGoVan and Zyllem to move parcels and big objects in Singapore.

Founded by former investment banker Alwin Liang, Roadbull says its service has some features that set it apart from its rivals.

The service is automated, from online ordering and routing to dispatching jobs online. All these processes are undertaken on mobile apps.

Also, customers go to Roadbull's website to key in their requirements and pay online using credit cards.

Mr Liang believes he can offer a better service because Roadbull owns the vehicles and employs the drivers.

Roadbull, together with one of his investors, Trust-Link Logistics, has 48 vehicles comprising vans, lorries and motorcycles.

Prices start from $2.80 to $8 for small parcels.

Roadbull will accept orders for bigger objects over 100kg, but such orders have to be made over the phone.

Selling budget rooms with basic services

Looking for a clean, affordable budget hotel room for a staycation here? Zen Rooms ( city/singapore) offers rooms in budget hotels which it has checked to be clean and offering reliable service.

Co-founder Kiren Tanna said the service went through a pilot about a month ago and received a good response from tourists and residents here.

He said: "Surprisingly, about 40 per cent of people booking our rooms are Singaporeans 'staycationing' here."

Customers booking rooms from abroad can also use the service.

Zen Rooms offers only a few rooms in each hotel, but ensures they are clean and safe and that the hotel provides a certain level of service .

Mr Tanna says research indicates that budget travellers are looking for a clean room, comfortable bed, in-room shower, flatscreen TV, air conditioning and Wi-Fi.

With that, the firm ensures that each hotel will, at the very least, offer these basic services.

Grace Chng

Correction note: An earlier version of this article referred to a new start-up, Roadbull Technologies. Its name should have been Roadbull Logistics. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2016, with the headline 'StartSingapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe