Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Kay Woo, CEO of MVL Foundation, the company behind ride-hailing app TADA which has been launched in Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Unlike other ride-hailing apps, TADA’s unique business model does not charge drivers for commission.
Woo talked about the potential of Southeast Asian markets, TADA’s blockchain platform for storing ride data, and the new MVL incentive program expected to drive more user engagement.
Asia Blockchain Review: Can you tell us about the potential of ride-hailing services in Cambodia? What was TADA’s main reason for entering the Cambodian market?
Kay Woo: Our main reason to enter into Cambodia market is making a fair distribution to drivers and riders. Cambodia currently has two dominant players in the ride-hailing industry. And yet, we cannot say that it is dominated by those two. There are more than 20 ride-hailing applications in the market. Interestingly and unfortunately, they don’t address the pain that drivers are having everyday. I think TADA’s zero commission policy and SD (System Dispatch) program can help to address what the problem is and make drivers and riders think about what they should get.
Cambodia market is also growing with a very fast manner. But, if we fail to address the current pain now, it will be much harder to make a proper distribution to drivers and riders.
ABR: Why did you decide to enter the ride-hailing services arena despite the presence of large corporations in the region?
KW: Ride-hailing service is the most advanced service among the service in South East Asia. And the growth speed is getting faster and faster. But there exist very critical problems that have never been addressed by current existing platforms. There was no proper distribution of benefits to drivers and riders. Especially drivers were sometimes being used for the growth of the platform.
By defining drivers as the customer of TADA platform, we can think about the proper way of sharing the benefits from the platforms. By sharing more benefits to drivers, we could build a strong bondage between drivers and TADA.
MVL is the key factor to share the benefit of platform. Through the contribution to TADA, drivers and riders can get MVL incentives. And this would be the beginning to address the current existing problem and find a better way of engagement on ride-hailing industry. We have one clear mission that we will distribute the benefits between drivers and riders through MVL. We believed that the goodwill for drivers and riders can help us to grow further.
ABR: Can you share with us some of your milestones and successes in Singapore and Vietnam?
KW: Since its launch in July 2018, TADA Singapore has attracted about 300,000 riders and 30,000 drivers. It is a very meaningful figure because it was obtained through organic growth while spending a very minimal marketing budget. As the demand for various mobility service options has recently increased, we have expanded to TADA Taxis since November 2018. The number of rider sign-ups surged since the launch of this service.
We have been testing the MVL Incentive Program since February 2019. The MVL Incentive Protocol was first applied in Singapore and is constantly being promoted for rapid adoption by TADA users prior to the protocol demonstration.
In Vietnam, cooperation with Lotte Rental, a vehicle supply partner, started in April this year and our numbers are rapidly increasing. Currently, TADA Vietnam is only available in Ho Chi Minh City, but we plan to expand to other regions as well. Also, the MVL Incentive Program will be implemented in TADA this year.
ABR: What is the key challenge in operating ride-hailing services in Southeast Asian markets? Can you tell us about some of your successes in tackling these problems?
KW: Competition with existing large companies is very difficult. They are already providing their services and carrying out marketing with a large budget, and we are still small compared to those companies.
However, there are a number of problems in ride-hailing services such as drivers’ income and monopoly of collected data. We have focused on these pain points and believe that blockchain technology can resolve them. Therefore, we have been developing an incentive-based mobility blockchain. We address these problems with zero commission on top of token incentives to remain competitive.
ABR: Because you don’t charge commissions from your drivers like other ride-hailing companies, what is your business model and is it feasible in the long-term?
KW: Our platform takes zero commission from drivers, and this policy will remain unchanged in the future. I foresee all future platforms being public and taking zero commission, but we started this model before anyone else. We provide a zero commission platform, but we are in the middle of testing other various BMs (business models). There is the System Dispatch model for many different countries. We collaborate with other mobile payment companies and insurance companies. As our service grows, business models on top of the crypto economy will be established as well.
ABR: How do you utilize blockchain technology in TADA, and how does it drive the business forward as opposed to other systems?
KW: We have been developing the MVL protocol, an incentive-based mobility blockchain, and MVL will be implemented in TADA.
Data created by TADA drivers and riders are all recorded on the MVL blockchain system, and MVL Points are provided in compensation. The most basic and important mechanism of the MVL incentive program is to offer MVL Points according to traveling data and pro-social behavior. MVL Points help to create a sound mobility ecosystem because the points encourage drivers and riders to act in a pro-social manner.
ABR: How will you integrate the MVL Incentive Program into TADA services? How will the program drive more user engagement?
KW: The incentive program was launched in Singapore in February 2019. We award incentives by categories (trip, review, etc.). MVL Points can be exchanged for MVL Coins from June 2019.
We introduced MVL levels in the MVL incentive program to make TADA users want to accumulate more MVL Points. In the future, drivers and riders who unlock high MVL levels will be matched preferentially to each other. The mobility ecosystem that MVL envisions is where pro-social drivers provide and riders receive a good quality of services. The MVL incentive program will be the first step towards achieving our goal.
We plan to launch this program for TADA Vietnam and TADA Cambodia as well. We expect the incentive program will help lock-in our drivers and earn more income.
ABR: Can you tell us about your long-term vision and targets for the company?
KW: The main goal is to innovate mobility services with numerous data transactions using blockchain technology. Since we are able to transparently manage data with our blockchain system, trustworthy trades can be made. With this innovation, we want to help participants earn more and build a sound mobility ecosystem.
We have been developing the MVL Incentive Program, MVL protocol, and TADA services with this goal in mind. We have plans to develop various mobility services, including TADA, for integration with the MVL ecosystem and to provide MVL incentives to users of various mobility services.
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