Robinhood, a local food delivery platform under Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), anticipates posting losses for the next three years under a no gross profit (GP) policy to support small merchants.
The Thailand-based food delivery platform held the soft launch of its service on Monday, which waives the GP fee, usually in the range of 30-35% in the food delivery market.
Small food and beverage merchants are the key target of this food delivery platform.
Robinhood is operated under Purple Ventures, SCB's tech startup, as a pilot project with a budget of 150 million baht per year, spanning from 2020 to 2022.
The company expects to generate losses during the period, said Thana Thienachariya, chairman of the board of directors at Purple Ventures.
Some 16,000 merchants and 10,000 drivers have joined the platform.
Robinhood targets the number of partners to increase to 30,000 merchants and 15,000 drivers by the end of this year.
The number of food deliveries is projected to be around 20,000 per day this year.
Mr Thana said the GP fee is a key pain point for all related parties including merchants, drivers and consumers.
Waiving the GP fee will support small food merchants' survival amid the coronavirus outbreak, he said.
At the same time, the move attracted workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic, as many applied to become riders for Robinhood, said Mr Thana.
The fair price strategy will support service quality and ultimately benefit consumers, he said.
"For the initial stage, the bank plans to offer the service without concern for profit," said Mr Thana.
"After the service can build up customer engagement, the bank can offer them financial services and products later, especially digital loans."
With the app's fully cashless payment platform, Robinhood riders can earn money without having to advance their own cash for customers' food orders.
Customers can directly pay merchants via direct debit on SCB Easy, SCB's mobile banking app, or credit card, debit card and cash card.
Customers can also enjoy a wider variety of foods from small neighbourhood vendors as well as those available exclusively on the app.
Purple Ventures aims to officially launch Robinhood in early 2021 with new features including multiple orders, allowing customers to order foods from more than one merchant without having to wait for the previous order to be completed.
Moreover, the app plans to offer multiple pick-ups, allowing customers to place orders from several shops in the same area, and other features such as credit card point redemption and Robinhood wallet as an additional payment method.