Carblicity puts a spin on transit advertising
While running his previous start-up, Endru looked into advertising on taxis—a sight often seen in Singapore. To his surprise, taxi firms were charging unaffordable amounts that he could not afford. While he was not able to advertise his services, this discovery piqued his interest and he went on to research on transit advertising. He found out that most transit advertising was carried out by huge brands or big corporations that could afford it. On the other hand, SMEs were missing out on this effective marketing medium due to their less endowed budget. “Something need[ed] to be done to fill this gap and disrupt the monopoly held by public transport operators on transit advertising.” As such, Carblicity was born.
Image Credits: Carblicity
Carblicity crowdsources private vehicles, providing affordable transit advertising options to SMEs as well as allowing the owners of these private vehicles to gain financially. It was a harmonious ecosystem and the cherry on top was that it was achievable even without owning any inventory. Providing advertising mediums as well as value added options such as in-car ads, screens and activations, it is not difficult to see why Carblicity is such a success.
Endru believes in Out of Home (OOH) Advertising by Everyone, for Everyone. “All spaces in public could potentially be utilized for OOH advertising through crowdsourcing to provide greater alternatives to advertisers with varying budgets.”
Not only is it solving the problem of expensive advertising for SMEs, it also disrupts the world of advertising—by introducing an unconventional medium to OOH advertising. Currently, Carblicity owns their own database of 2500 drivers who offer their private cars up for advertising. In addition, partnerships and agreements with major private-hire vehicle firms such as Grab and GogoVan provide access to more than 40,000 private hire vehicles, 7000 vans, buses and electric taxis. In short, it offers firms a massive platform and your advertisement would be getting extensive exposure—all at an affordable price.
But that’s not the only reason why Carblicity is a success. With the declining engagement rates from traditional advertising, this progressive form of advertising is far more engaging and successful at garnering attention. Boasting one of the highest engagement rates, Endru explains that “As a driver, it is one of the few moments in their daily lives that that are not looking at a screen, but concentrating on their surrounding environment. People are [also] more likely to look at ads on private cars than on taxis.”
From left to right: Gabriel Koh (Sales director), Endru Chen (CEO), Alvin Boey (COO), Anthony Xu (CTO)
Endru attributes his success to the co-founding team of talented individuals that have been helping him through this entrepreneurial journey. Their unwavering belief in the vision of Carblicity, their perseverance and willingness to go for the extra mile were what Endru believes pushed Carblicity to success. Endru also acknowledges that humility played an important role, especially when the team recognizes that they have much to learn from veterans in the scene. “We work very closely with our mentors and advisors who provide us with invaluable advice and guidance.” Elim Chew, founder of 77th Street, was one of those mentors. She imparted her experiences as well as guided them through setting up Carblicity—which she invested into as an investor and shareholder.
Endru also mentions SMU BIG as part of his success. Stating that SMU BIG was instrumental, especially through the multiple stages of setting up Carblicity.
Despite all the help that they have received, Endru faced his own fair share of challenges. The toughest challenge was sourcing for funds for Carblicity. “We tried, unsuccessfully to raise the funds required during our last round at the end of 2017. We were good at running the business operationally, however, fundraising was a different ball game that none of the founders had any experience in.” Endru recalls that it was a steep learning curve, especially given that they were running the business operationally, at the same time. However, persevering through this obstacle, they learnt from their failures and has since reopened their pre-series A round. Now better equipped at catering to investors’ needs, Carblicity has since raised a total of S$200,000, nearly a third of what they are planning to raise.
The journey was not an easy one, and to Endru, “launching your own start-up was not all “cool” and glamour.” The journey was speckled with chaos and uncertainty, and one requires a lot of grit to get through it. Be prepared for sleepless nights and empty wallets—both of which Endru had endured many times. However, to aspiring entrepreneurs, Endru has this to say. “If you believe in your cause, beyond financial gains, then grinding through it makes it all worth it.”
Carblicity is currently in the midst of developing a proprietary technology that will enable them to provide key performance metrics to advertisers. With the new technology, besides mileage and routes travelled by drivers, Carblicity will now be able to track the number of impressions generated, down to the actual conversions from impressions, to call to action, to actual sales. With regional and global expansions in their near future, Carblicity will only be growing bigger from here on out.
For more information, visit their website.