Central American Super App Bringing Electric Moped Sharing To Singapore
Singaporeans are no strangers to awesome apps like WeChat in China, Go-Jek in Indonesia, and Grab in Singapore.
These super apps are comprehensive and allow users to access a multitude of different services on the same platform.
They integrate many functions and functions, from e-commerce and transport service to food delivery and financial services.
While super apps have grown in popularity in regions like Southeast Asia and China, they’re still an unknown concept in regions like Central America and the Caribbean (CAC).
A golden opportunity for a serial entrepreneur
CAC has a total population of 95.5 million and is ranked 19th among the world’s economies. According to OMNi founder and APAC CEO Erik Cheong, the region is an “untapped market”.
As it is a cash dependent economy with high internet penetration, the region is also “full of opportunities for a digital revolution”.
This opportunity has been further accelerated by Covid-19, which has accelerated the transition to digitization in the CAC region.
OMNi was launched in 2019 and is positioned as the first super app in the CAC region. It provides a “transparent, digitally integrated and highly localized daily service network”.
Although OMNi was a pioneer in Central America, Erik, 31, is a Singaporean.
Erik said he was an “ambitious and aspiring” individual who always wanted to create something of himself.
Last year it received the Forbes 30 Under 30 Award for Consumer Tech.
The Serial Entrepreneur was also awarded the National EDGE Youth Entrepreneurship Award in 2018 by Quest Ventures, is an active member of the eFounder scholarship by Alibaba Global Initiatives and also a TRIVE Next50 mentor.
Four verticals and a large number of users
Barely a year after OMNi launched in 2019, it has already risen through the ranks to become Costa Rica’s most downloaded Google Playstore app with 500,000 downloads.
The Forbes 30 Under 30 award winner told Vulcan Post that OMNi focuses on four verticals: mobility, financial technology (fintech), lifestyle and healthcare.
Three of the verticals have already been launched, the health component to be launched in the first quarter of 2021.
Erik shared that OMNi started with vertical micro-mobility, which served as a “Trojan horse” to acquire a large user base.
In Central America, bike sharing was not common, although affordable transportation was an essential service.
Thus, vertical micro-mobility was an opportunity to “convert the analog elements of regional transport offers into digital channels”.
The company now has 3,700 e-bikes and 1,000 scooters on its sharing platform. It also has a fleet of taxis and EV Mopods (electric vehicles) and has successfully integrated its services with local bus and train platforms.
As part of its fintech vertical, the startup has partnered with Coopenae Bank, the largest financial cooperative in Central America and the third largest in Latin America, with total assets of US $ 1.6 billion. (S $ 2.19 billion).
It has also launched an electronic wallet and issues OMNi debit cards by partnering with Mastercard.
According to Erik, the company has issued 250,000 OMNi debit cards, with more than 200 debit card requests per day.
The startup also delivers up to 2,000 packages per day through its delivery services.
It has also embarked on entertainment and rewards programs, with a network of 15,000 merchants providing services to users.
Bring moped sharing to Singapore
OMNi has set up its Asian headquarters in Singapore and is preparing to deploy its first service to the island later this year.
Erik told Vulcan Post that OMNi recently signed a memorandum of understanding with one of the largest electric scooter manufacturers in the Asia region to launch OMNiGO.
OMNiGO will be the first green mobility service leveraging the sharing of electric mopeds in Costa Rica and Singapore.
This is also in line with the Singapore government’s Go Green initiative, which allows high-powered electric motorcycles to be used on our roads to encourage the adoption of cleaner vehicles.
Mopeds have both a motorcycle-type engine and bicycle pedals, but they still require a motorcycle license to operate.
It’s also a space that the super apps – Grab and Go-jek – haven’t yet dominated.
According to Technode, OMNi will charge business users a monthly subscription, while regular users will use the pay-as-you-go system – similar to bike sharing.
Does SEA have room for another great app?
Besides being a mass-adopted app in the Central America region, Erik said the company has similar plans to become a super app in Southeast Asia.
Like the decision to introduce EV moped sharing, OMNi will avoid competing with Grab and Go-jek in areas where they are already entrenched, such as carpooling.
Despite this, super apps like Grab have managed to take root deep in the lives of Singaporeans, and OMNi will need to make sure that it is able to find a niche where it can be the first to enter.
The startup joined Lim How Teck, chairman of Heliconia Capital Management, a 100% subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, as a strategic advisor.
It was also selected for the TRIBE Accelerator program, which will propel it in its efforts to become Southeast Asia’s next super app.
To address these disruptive opportunities, OMNi is looking to raise a mega funding round of $ 250 million by the first quarter of 2021.
In the long term, OMNi aims to file an initial U.S. public offering and be listed on the New York Stock Exchange – a route taken by Singaporean firm SEA.
Featured Image Credit: OMNi
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