There will be no two opinions on the market dominance of Grab and gojek, especially in Southeast Asia. These two firms are based in two of the top-3 economic superpowers in the region — Singapore and Indonesia, respectively — and are both unstoppable in terms of innovation and service expansion.

In an article by The ASEAN Post, consumer adoption of ride-hailing services will “continue to quadruple from 2015 levels to eight million ride bookings daily with 35 million active users”. The optimistic numbers are not without loopholes, as there’s still headroom for the sector to grow further with more than 80 per cent of Southeast Asian internet users are still not active ride-hailing users.

The number itself was last recorded in December 2018, meaning the number of non-active users of ride-hailing service might have changed and become smaller, but still, leave quite an untapped space for ride-hailing startups other than the two head-to-head decacorns.

Factor the emerging markets in Southeast Asia that’s completely left out such as Laos and Timor Leste, and the opportunity is wide open for ride-hailing businesses to be duplicated in these countries.

e27 visits under-the-radar, locally-thriving ride-hailing startups around Southeast Asia and here they are.


Oway Ride

In Myanmar, Oway Ride made headlines ever since it was first established in 2014 as an online travel agency. In an interview with e27, Oway CEO Alok Kumar explained how even as an online travel agency, the company was novel and advanced for a country that was just opened up to internet infrastructure in 2012, welcoming foreign telcos such as Ooredoo and Telenor.

Today, Oway has counted Northstar Group, an early investor of gojek, as one of its backers.

With operations in major cities in Myanmar, Oway now has plans to launch in Naypyidaw, a city that’s less dense in population than Mandalay and Yangon, creating access to more distributed transportation and possibly will help lower taxi fares to open up the city more.

Get Ride

Get Ride was officially launched in Myanmar in September 2018. Owned by the founder of Myanmar’s BOD Tech Ventures, this platform offers bike, tuk-tuk, and taxi-hailing as a part of ‘Get, the omnichannel digital commerce platform established in 2017 by early-stage tech investor Mike Than Tun Win and Nyein Chan Soe Win.

According to an article in DealStreetAsia, the startup started to charge a fee lower than its competitors based on a rate agreed upon by its community of drivers and customers in 2019 with a lifetime commission-free services to motorbike drivers.



PassApp claims to have roughly the same number of drivers as Grab in Cambodia (around 10,000) and also has food delivery and e-payment services.

PassApp was founded by CEO Top Nimol as a ride-hailing app that helps passengers find a tuk-tuk or taxi. Developed in Phnom Penh, it is currently available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Kampong Cham, and Kampot.

Also Read: Outpost, Geeks In Cambodia join forces to sponsor local startup


In terms of commuting, the access to tuk-tuks, rickshaws, and taxis are more in sync with the way the locals travel. Having tuktuks and rickshaws as options are also good for tourist attractions and that it also serves QR Code payment powered by Wing . Nimol claims two million people have downloaded the app nationwide, mostly in Phnom Penh.

Despite a huge number of downloads, Nimol still finds the market to be too small and competitive for the 11 or so ride-hailing companies to operate.


Hailed as the first taxi-hailing firm ever existed in the Kingdom, ExNet was first established by Hor Daluch in April 2016, at a time when Cambodians still needed convincing of the benefit of using technology for their daily commutes.

Despite having been the first, ExNet recently admitted that it was forced to find a new source of revenue for the company, besides depending on commissions from drivers, such as generating advertising revenue from companies that wish to advertise their products and services because of the tight market competition.

According to Daluch, Exnet has about 2,000 registered drivers and the majority are car drivers. The app has clocked nearly 20,000 downloads.



In Laos, Grab is not available. Instead, local player LOCA dominates the ride-hailing services in the country.

Started off by co-founders Souliyo Vongdala, Jettana, and Johnny Sayasane, LOCA was their solution to the increasingly non-transparent taxi operation in the country, ripping off tourists and leaving a bad image about the country’s transportation. With both Uber and Grab neglecting the country, LOCA became the only ride-hailing service.

LOCA managed to take its business forward after struggling with just a small number of customers and only 15 trips per day. Now, Vongdala admitted in an interview with e27 that LOCA’s GMV has grown to 600 per cent with almost 17,000 customers after since its launch in 2018.

LOCA said it doesn’t provide just ride-hailing service but also tourist information. With the app, a tourist will be able to know where the interesting events are, which is the best restaurant, the hidden local foods and so on. Customers will also be able to book minivan ride as the company said it will finalise a partnership with minivan providers.



A quick Google search will reveal that Lais is the country’s first and only ride-hailing service. For an otherwise untouchable area when it comes to Southeast Asian startup scene, Lais being mentioned as the first ride-hailing emerging from East Timor is a breath of fresh air.

We’re still looking forward to updates on its operation and performance locally.


Riding Pink

While the Malaysian market is packed with multiple ride-hailing options, Riding Pink’s emergence in 2016 gave passengers, particularly women, a safer option.

In an article by KrAsia, it is detailed that Riding Pink was conceived as “a network akin to a social movement of women drivers for women riders”. It matches riders with drivers manually via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, centralises bookings and matching riders with drivers systematically before developing an app.

Fast forward to today, the startup remains in operation with women around its narrative.


Launched in April 2018, MyCar offers passengers an option to track the location of drivers and to make payment via cash or card.

According to a piece by Loanstreet, MyCar offers a fixed rate to the country’s international airport KLIA and KLIA2 for RM59, essentially beating the pricing of its toughest competition Grab. Being practically new compared to the established giant, MyCar still has a lot of potentials to explore and offer.


Dacsee associates itself to be the ride-sharing services that utilises the advantages of blockchain technology and decentralisation to reduce platform fees and to create a self-sustainable ecosystem.

Dacsee allows you to request rides from friends and family members if they’re already a part of the Dacsee community and fulfil the necessary requirements. Dacsee’s “Joy Locations” features recommend ongoing rewards and promotions with popular brands.

Also Read: Ride-hailing service FastGo prepares to launch in Indonesia and Myanmar

Launched in July 2018, Dacsee’s CEO Liem Chiew Shan told The Star Malaysia that it will expand its services to other Southeast Asian countries this year, including Thailand and South Korea.

The company’s valuation has reportedly exceeded US$100 million, with it recently signing an MoU with two companies, Hanryu AI Center Co and Sports Seoul Co, to start services in South Korea. According to The Star Malaysia’s report, the companies will also be developing a unique Artificial Intelligence solution to be embedded into Dacsee’s platform.


JomRides provides ride-hailing services through a compact car, sedan, or MPV that can be booked in advance.

According to a The Borneo Post’s article, Jomrides utilises a profit-sharing concept to generate continuous income. Since its launch in January 2018, the company has garnered 14,000 registered drivers throughout the nation.

JomRides is developed by a Sarawak-based company USGA and has officially operated in Sarawak in March 2019.


According to its page, MULA was established in September 2016 as a tech-enabled company aimed to provide a wide range of passenger transportation network and logistics services via its mobile applications.

MULA is headquartered in Penang. The company offers “safe and comfortable ride-sharing services with a brand new fleet of premium, luxury MPVs, and compact cars”.



According to The Scoop’s article, Dart was launched in May 2017 as an app-based taxi-booking service. Its plans to introduce a ride-hailing, however, faced several delays with the Ministry of Transport and Info-communications approving the DartCar service only after in March 2018, almost causing it to shut down.

Recently in 2019, Dart just introduced cashless payments through debit and credit card, and has also announced an airport pick-up service.



FastGo might have established in April 2018, but it’s already making waves in neighbouring countries such as Myanmar, Singapore, and Indonesia.

FastGo Vietnam JSC launched its service after Uber’s exit from Southeast Asia last June. FastGo is part of Vietnamese technology startup NextTech Group and it reportedly has an ambitious plan to undercut big names like gojek and Grab with its counteroffer of charging only fixed US$5 out of US$30 the drivers made in a day compared to 20 per cent off drivers’ ride fares.

FastGo said in an article by VNExpress that its ride-hailing app will not charge peak period surcharges, and customers can tip drivers.


Be entered the market by offering both car-riding and bike-riding in December 2018. Reuters reported that it secured “hundreds of millions US dollars” of investments ahead of its official launch.

The company is operating under BE GROUP and led by founder and CEO Tran Thanh Hai. The app also has food, delivery, e-payment, and financing services.



Angkas is one contender of the three most notable local ride-hailers affected by a recent policy change implemented by the Philippines’s market regulator. According to its website, Angkas is a motorcycle ride-hailing platform that seeks to “help tackle transport mobility for Filipinos where country traffic is some of the highest in the world”.

As reported by Rappler, after Angkas’s drivers took to the street to protest the government’s decision to cut motor taxis from 27,000 to 10,000, motorbike-based taxis were officially declared illegal in the Philippines. It followed a pilot run to test its practicality and safety that ends ahead of the scheduled March 2020 for Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It.

Also Read: Indonesian logistics startup Anterin opens new R&D centre in Jogjakarta

Angkas Singapore-born CEO, Angeline Xiwen Tham, was accused by Senator Aquilino Koko Pimentel of holding almost full ownership of the firm which is against the local law, which stipulates that Filipinos must own 60 per cent of public transport companies.

The Senator then moved a resolution to declare Tham as ‘persona non-grata’ for violating ownership law and defaming the government, as reported by e27.


Despite the uncertain future and recent ban of motorbike ride-hailing operations by the government, Rappler on February 11 reported that JoyRide has begun its operation in Metro Cebu. JoyRide has made news since signing an agreement with insurance giant Malayan Insurance, in a bid to prepare safety measures ahead of its official app launch.

JoyRide is led by Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Noli Eala, who was a former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner and ex-San Miguel Corporation sports director, according to an article by Rappler. The company said they would not have surge pricing, even during peak hours and promises an income of US$29.4 per day.


Also joining the previously mentioned trial phase, MoveIt has around 2,500 registered drivers and 500 riders already on the road, as reported in Philstar. It entered the now-clouded market around the same time as JoyRide after seeing the success and solutions provided by Angkas to tackle the worsening traffic in the country.



GoBike claims itself to be the first and only “official and fully-legal motorcycle-taxi app” in Bangkok after Uber’s UberMoto and Grab’s GrabBike were both forced to suspend their operations in May 2015.

In 2016, GoBike closed a US$4.8 million pre-series A round from unrevealed backers, including private equity firms, family trusts, and high-net-worth individuals, mainly from East Asia and Europe.

In a Tech In Asia’s article, GoBike Malaysia-born co-founder and CEO Lian Wah Seng said that the funding followed a seed round of US$1 million in March 2016 from Hong Kong, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Thai investors, before officially launching in July.

To establish GoBike, Seng partnered up with Thai entrepreneur and GoBike Co-founder and Executive Director Attapon Sitichaiareekit to empower and utilise the established ecosystem of 100,000 registered moto drivers.



Serving the few numbers left untouched by either Grab or gojek, Anterin made waves enough to catch the attention of Indonesian conglomerate MNC Group. In January this year, through its subsidiary PT Indonesia Transport & Infrastructure Tbk (IATA), MNC Group announced that it had signed a term sheet to acquire a majority stake in local motorcycle ride-sharing firm Anterin.

The partnership, as reported by e27, was meant to drive the shift of Anterin’s current services towards newer avenues such as food delivery, taxi collaboration with fleet operators, as well as car and helicopter rentals.

Anterin currently has more than 300,000 drivers and 500,000 customers and operates in 100 cities in Indonesia. The company differentiates itself from Grab and gojek by offering a monthly subscription to drivers, instead of slashing fees from each ride they make, without having to give the company commission fees.

“We avoid the cash burn system. We use the auction concept. The drivers can decide their own prices. Customers also can have their own preferences, according to the price, vehicles, or drivers,” said Anterin CTO Rachmat Efendi.


AsiaTrans is a more modest ride-hailing option. Suhartoni Yonathan Salusu, President Director, started doing a trial run in a few cities in December 2018 to gauge public interest towards online motorbike Trans Jek and car ride-hailing Trans Car.

According to an atmago article, Trans Jek and Trans Car mostly cover big cities outside the Java island cities like Palembang, Balikpapan, Samarinda, Padang, Makassar, but also in the capital city of Jakarta.

Aside from Trans Jek and Trans Car, the company claims to have 16 online services such as Trans Send, Trans Box, Trans Pick Up, Trans Rent, Trans Food, Trans Clean, Trans Massage, Trans Mechanic, Trans Clean Trans Salon, Trans Market, Trans UKM, Trans Store, Trans Care, Trans Pay Trans Barber, dan Trans Ticket, which is a whole lot of ecosystem on its own just like gojek.



TADA, operated by MVLLABS, differentiates its operation by offering a blockchain-based zero-commission ride-hailing service.

Unlike other cab-hailing platforms, TADA takes zero commission from drivers. For riders, the platform matches them with a driver quickly using its matching tech and the user can choose to pay with cash or debit/credit card.

Recently, TADA raised US$5 million led by South Korean VC firm SV Investment with car parts manufacturers, Central and SIMWON, also participated in this funding round. It will use the funding to expand its service in Southeast Asia with over 50,000 drivers and more than 500,000 users that have used it in Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia as claimed.

Also Read: TADA raises US$5M to expand its blockchain-based zero-commission ride-hailing service in SEA

MVL is a mobility ecosystem based on the Mass Vehicle Ledger incentive-based blockchain protocol. Mobility data such as transactions, movements, accidents, and maintenance of vehicles are recorded and connected in a single MVL ecosystem allowing users to interact with MVL’s mobility data ecosystem on the blockchain through connected services such as TADA and other upcoming services.


Ryde invites taxi drivers to join its RydeX feature and accept jobs at “dynamic pricing” to open up an additional source of income for them, while reducing their idle time waiting in between street hail jobs, according to an article by Vulcan Post.

In December 2019, Ryde introduced a new metered taxi service, RydeTAXI, offering this to taxi drivers at zero per cent commission with a potential income increase by US$40 each day through this new service. Ryde hopes to add more than 4,000 drivers to its current pool of 29,000 drivers.

With the new offer, passengers can get a ride with shorter waiting times, and avoid surge fares during peak periods.

Moving forward, the ride-hailing sector is projected to be worth close to US$30 billion by 2025. It only grows from strength to strength and is primed for further innovation to circle around the traffic issues and to lift the economy simultaneously. The only question remaining is: how will these startups stay ahead of each other and survive in the fierce competition. The answer also has to do with the government support and potential collaborations with each other.

Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

The post Meet these 22 under-the-radar ride-hailing startups catering to Southeast Asia’s hustle and bustle appeared first on e27.