By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation Weekend
As it seeks to achieve “unicorn” status, the three-year-old start-up QueQ is looking to transform itself from an app to a platform and to reach beyond being a queuing solution. This would see it ultimately shift its revenue model from that of monthly app payments to a transaction base.
In November, the company will have its first series-A fundraising, led by a Thai telecom player and following an injection of venture capital from South Korea. The move is to drive QueQ to expand its business footprint to cover five countries in the Asia Pacific region, including current markets Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan. The next two are likely to involve India, South Korea or Japan, said Rungsun Promprasith, founder of QueQ.
“This series-A funding will increase the company’s valuation by up to US$10 million (Bt330 million). Our goal is to become the unicorn start-up from Thailand,” said Rungsun. Though Thailand has a healthy start-up culture, none has yet broken through to unicorn status.
QueQ was initially developed and designed as a queuing solution to address the pain point of time spent standing in line for a restaurant seat. The ultimate iteration of QueQ is as a lifestyle app that appeals to people who want to address a pain point involving wasted time for daily activities.
“It is not only designed to solve a queuing problem, but to solve any kinds of time-wasting problems in people daily life. Once they have a problem like this, they will think of QueQ,” said Rungsun. “We want to be people’s every-day app, and a location-based app, that can create new businesses.”
Since its launch three years ago, QueQ has grown to more than 1 million users. He said the series-A funding would help QueQ speed its growth to above 5 million users in the next 12 months. QueQ will also change from an app to an online-to-offline platform offering any kind of service, such as deliveries and cashless payments, which could help solve people’s problem of allocating time for their daily activities.
“Being a platform would help QueQ to create revenues from a massive number of users and to help pave the way to being a unicorn. For example, once QueQ platform can turn offline payment into cashless payment via QueQ, potentially huge revenues would come from transactions. To achieve this scenario, it would need to educate the market and change people’s behaviour, all things that are on the way,” said Rungsun.
Initially, QueQ’s business model is to gain revenue from corporates who pay for the queuing solution. But QueQ aims to turn its future massive users into direct revenue sources. Series-A is intended to open a new chapter for QueQ, to develop and provide new features and new services. To do that it would acquire a lot more users and businesses who need QueQ’s solutions. It would expand both the regional market and expand to additional vertical local market segments.
Take for example the new features: “pre-order” and “the next-door-delivery” service. It was developed in a collaboration between QueQ and Chulalongkorn University, and allows QueQ users to pre-order food from local restaurants in the Sam Yan area, and have them delivered by students. So far 30 restaurants have joined a one-month trail, and the service will officially launch in November.
Chulalongkorn University students do the delivery, and some 20,000 students have joined the platform. “We call them ‘day-workers’ who would like to do a part-time job,” said Rungsun. The first new service is called DayWork, which grew out of the next-door-delivery service. DayWork is also a new start-up with a 30-per cent investment by QueQ, and 70-per cent from its founders. DayWork will soft launch along with the next-door-delivery service. It is designed as a part-time job platform that matches job to workers, mostly students.
“DayWork is to serve the huge massive part-time job market in Thailand,” said Rungsun. “It is to help students to do work in their free time. First, DayWork will start with food delivery next month. Then in early 2019, it will increase to more kinds of hiring (of part-time workers).”
QueQ evangelist Prairwa Kalayanamit, 17, said that most users are female and new features and services, especially DayWork, are designed to serve the new generation.
Later, with series-B fundraising, QueQ will aim to monetise its by-then massive number of users, at over 5 million, with a 30 per cent increase per month in active users.