E-pioneer angel invests in Ulease
The online motorbike marketplace Ulease has received angel investor funding from e-commerce pioneer Pawoot Pongvitatyapanu to expand its service and capitalise on a potential market of 60 billion baht.
"Consumers can use Ulease.co.th to compare prices and models of motorbikes and select the best offer from leasing firms rather than from traditional retailers," said Shane Srivipapong, chief executive and co-founder of Ulease International Co, the operator of Ulease.co.th.
"Users will have two or three leasing firms as choices for each physical motorbike dealer," he said.
Each year sees 2 million motorbikes sold in Thailand, of which up to 80% are financed through hire purchase and 20% are bought with cash. The overall motorbike market is worth 60 billion baht a year.
Ulease users can choose their preferred brands, models and finance programmes or just pay in cash from the site's dealer partners.
After making a decision, customers must verify and authenticate themselves online and provide personal information to process a credit score and pass it along to the leasing firm.
"Our marketplace will earn revenue from sales commission fees when we pass on customers to leasing firms," Mr Shane said. "Online leasing firms can have direct contact with customers and filter customers' profiles."
Meanwhile, motorbike dealers also receive a commission and get free digital marketing and product posts to reach new customers via the platform.
This means everybody wins in the system, Mr Shane said, as buyers get better offers and lower interest rates, while dealers receive a lower commission fee and access to new customers.
Since its launch last November, Ulease has grown to have up to 300 transactions a month. Some of its dealers are starting to make over half their sales online.
"We will select qualified dealers who have the ability to distribute goods and services and coverage in each region, rather than make a red ocean on the platform," Mr Shane said.
By the third quarter, the company plans to expand loan services to cars by using the motorbike as an asset guarantee.
"Users do not need to bring the vehicle to a location, Ulease will send staff to pick up the car registration book instead," Mr Shane said.
Mr Pawoot, Ulease's angel investor, said the company is the first of its kind and a unique motorbike marketplace, which led him to invest in a 10% share. He hopes to bring the firm to nearby countries and scale up nationwide.
Moreover, he wants to create synergies in other aspects of the business like payments and credit scoring.
"The online motorbike platform is disrupting motorbike dealers, who need to adapt and seek out new opportunities," Mr Pawoot said.