20th Month – From Idea to SPEEDHOME (formerly Speedrent), to Speedsign ;)

 

 SPEEDHOME marks its 20th month since the ideation stage, it came a long way. In the past 20 months, many things have evolved. I wish to share the story of SPEEDHOME with you, be it you are part of the startup community at large, our beloved app members or even the agents who were worried of SPEEDHOME. 

When I had poor experience with agents, I set out to be the change I wish to see. I started by brainstorming with Liz, my beloved wife and she was supportive of the idea and encouraged me to do it.

Sometimes, it’s just better to just solo it…

First thing first, I started looking for co-founders to build it together. Most of my friends have huge commitment and it was pretty hard to commit to a startup, financially and more importantly time.

The first ‘success’ partnership was with Jarod Law, through a friend’s introduction. We tried to apply for government grant – Cradle CIP 150, and it was rejected outright. That was a real bummer, and that partnership was short lived.

I thought it was too much of hassle to coordinate with so many people, and decided to plunge in RM80,000 to get the MVP out and some marketing budget for it to test the market.

Outsourcing wasn’t fun AT ALL

Contrary to most common beliefs, outsourcing wasn’t effective / fun at all. It was so tough to find good contractor despite my background in building a solid engineering team. I thought I could filter good companies easily, except that it was not!

I’ve not found any foreign outsourcing company that was up to my expectation, but we finally got the first MVP after 6 months of delay, almost 8 months of development.

While outsourcing was happening, busy building a team…

Early this year, Feb, I met up with a Japanese business partner, Asu (pseudo name). Asu was an angel investor and intrigued by the vision. Very quickly, we were talking about investment terms, but I noted to him that I didn’t want him just to invest. I needed him to contribute cash and actually working on this business because I was ready to match dollar to dollar in the investment.

With that, I started to make contact with friends whom I first contacted when SPEEDHOME idea was conceived. This time, Soon Tak was ready to jump ship, and with the expected investment coming in, I was so ready to hire. At the same time, Wei Zien, another developer whom I met virtually in Facebook was looking for new opportunity too. Made offers and both talented developers (programmers) accepted it.

OK, engineering team is secured,

next, we needed a person to help us to run operation and scale it quickly. I contacted a Executive who runs one of Rocket Internet (RI) companies regional operation, we spent sometime discussing the future to get alignment, and he liked it too.

Just when you thought everything was ready to go…

All happened in March 2015, just when I thought we were ready to disrupt the market, Asu told me that he got a promotion and needed to back out from the deal. I couldn’t work out a deal with RI Executive. All the effort was just wasted, and that wasn’t the biggest problem – I’ve just hired 2 friends for full time who have quitted their job just for SPEEDHOME!

Around the same time, Steason, an energetic young chap whom I have been watching, became ‘available’ because of the loss of his tech co-founder (back out). I quickly invited Steason to be part of SPEEDHOME.  

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Forced to go big, or go home.

Asu and I were planning to put up close to RM1,000,000 to run this business. Remember that my initial intention was to put in RM80k to test it, but Asu was so convinced that therefore I decided to plunge in RM320k (and eventually raised to RM500k). Suddenly I was back to square one, financing it alone.

Be transparent, and you will be surprised…

I sent email to my team to explain the dire situation with the expectation that most of them would clock out from SPEEDHOME – to my surprise, all of them pledged to stay and hang on together. It was a very touching moment for me.

Email I sent:

Email to team distress moment

Fast forward…

Today, SPEEDHOME has amassed more than 23,000 members, more than 60,000 messages. On a weekly basis, average of 4-10 houses deals were made through SPEEDHOME. Officially, we have been in the market for 4 months, while the numbers were not huge but it’s growing well and continuing the uptrend!  Thanks to friends, family, fans and media that helps us to get the much needed publicity!

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Organisation wise, we have added 3 more new team mates:

Esmond, from Singapore who ensure the tip-top wonderfulness of SPEEDHOME UIUX.

Sik Hoe, was the Head of Business Intelligence @ Foodpanda to help us analyse patterns and improve operation.

Minkyu, our third programmer to further accelerate our product development.

What’s next? Read it through…

I will write more about the vision – how SPEEDHOME intend to use technology to moves the entire rental process online so that it is easy, safe and fast.

Leaving the best for last, we just made a baby yet important step closer to our vision to move rental process online so that it is easy, safe and fast with our electronic tenancy agreement signing app, Speedsign. You can sign tenancy agreement directly on your mobile, whenever, wherever, without any paper, ever!

Check Speedsign out by clicking the link, it is only available for Android at the moment. Please share this post to your friends if you like Speedsign! 🙂

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