illigo : Singapore Mobile App and Web Development Company - Items filtered by date: April 2016

Manila-based U-Hop has closed seed investments worth a total of US$7.4 million, which it will use to roll out in major cities across Asia.

The company has received US$2 million from a Philippine corporation with diversified interests, U-Hop’s founder Marvin Dela Cruz tells Tech in Asia. Some US$5.4 million inked with boutique investment banking firm Asian Alliance Investment Corporation, also based in Manila, will be wired into the company’s bank account any time after Holy Week.

“We’re using the funds to expand our operations in the Philippines and to launch in other markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, China, India, and Japan,” Marvin explains. “We will develop our IT infrastructure, acquire more partners, and hire a little over 500 additional staff to cover our entire operations.”

U-Hop is an Uber for shuttle vans that’s fast growing in Manila. The capital is known for having the worst urban traffic in the world, and it doesn’t need any more cars on the road than it currently has. Ride hailing apps Uber and Grab are just adding to the gridlock by catering to only one user at a time.

U-Hop’s answer is to put more commuters in vans, which can seat about seven people per trip. The company claims to already serve 550,000 passengers who regularly take its shuttle service.

U-Hop trips are scheduled and paid for in advance and cost an average of just US$2.50 per day (roundtrip). An on-demand option is metered like other taxi services and charges a fixed fee of less than a dollar, doing away with the surge pricing feature found on Uber’s and Grab’s apps.

There’s a new app in town that promises a lot. Through it, you’re supposedly able to order cleaning, cooking, babysitting, pet sitting, and elder care services. Basically, it wants to replace your domestic help. Agent Bong, from Hong Kong, is now officially available on iOS and Android in Singapore.

The app, however, falls apart quickly, and my experience tested my patience. The SMS verification took forever on my Android phone (maybe a temporary glitch), but worked fine on my iPhone. Two options were available in Singapore when I posted a job: spring cleaning and domestic help.

My immediate thoughts: where are the cooking and child care services, which I was told by a company rep are available in Singapore? And how’s spring cleaning different from the basic cleaning service? The app was shy about that information, which was hidden in a link that appeared only after I posted basic details about the job.

I was puzzled by the options. Yes, cooking was there. As were many others. But no pet sitting, child care, or elder care. I can go on an extended rant about the app, but I’ll be wasting wordcount eviscerating something that still needs lots of work. Suffice to say, the user interface flow is a mess. The app doesn’t save your home address, and the aesthetics are dated. The attention to detail is lacking.

Yes, the app has already served 8,000 customers in Hong Kong, but imagine how many more users it would get if it developed its app properly. If you have a gift for patience, go ahead and give this a try. It has 150 or so helpers in Singapore at your service.

If you’re just looking for cleaning services, try Properhands or Helpling instead. Maybe I will post an actual job on Agent Bong, and the service might surprise me. I’m desperately hoping for something that will make hiring full-time domestic helpers unnecessary.

But as far as first impressions go, this app fails, both in its design and in the way it launched. And don’t get me started with the name.