Motorist, the smart vehicle ownership app, secures $1.2m seed fund

Motorist is a prime example of the new age of platforms that simplify car ownership in Singapore.

by Justin Choo has just secured $1.2 million in seed funding from AngelCentral, an angel investing syndicate led by Lim Der Shing, co-founder of the ubiquitous JobsCentral.

Other familiar investors include Royston Tay, co-founder of Zopim and Huang Shao-Ning, a co-founder of JobsCentral. It’s another indication of the potential of its services, following Carro’s recent funding round in June.

Car owners, of all people, know best that buying a car is one thing, maintaining them is another – which is why services like Carro and Motorist are growing in importance.

If you’re not familiar with these new-fangled automotive platforms, this is what they do: you can buy and sell cars in a transparent manner, purchase insurance, personalise notifications and reminders that help you maintain your car and its value. In a nutshell, their goal is to simplify car ownership throughout the entire ownership cycle.

Lim was effusive about Motorist’s strengths as one of the leading car transaction platforms in Singapore by GMV (Gross Merchandise Value), citing the company’s capital efficiency and its ability to build a profitable multimillion-dollar business by mostly bootstrapping. It’s an achievement made all the more impressive considering that their competitors are much better funded.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Singapore by Damian Sia, the Motorist platform has served close to 500,000 motorists and facilitated over $600 million in vehicle transactions. It has had over 120,000 users for its Motorist app since launching in 2019 and the company’s GMV has grown from $176 million to over $650 million over the same period.

Motorist aims to grow its user base from 10 per cent of local vehicle users to 40 per cent by 2023. Presently, the company serves Singaporean and Malaysian users but it plans to be operational in Thailand by the year’s end.

With the new round of funding, Motorist will look to expand their ecosystem of smart tools and services to help car owners with vehicle purchases, vehicle loans and motor insurance. The company has been building a team of data scientists and adding Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to constantly improve the user experience of their app.

Recent updates include flash flood reporting to help update fellow users of driving hazards and a Car Group Chat that allows drivers with similar vehicles to share car-specific tips and insights. Other features that improve quality of life include workshop recommendations and cash rebates through mPay, its online payment service.

Motorist is available on both iOS and Android .