Local start-up RC9 drives global success in car rentals

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Co-founders of RC9, Mr Daryl Png (Left) and Lim Guo Hong. RC9 was fully acquired at SGD1.59M on December 2016.

Like most millennial students, Daryl Png and Lim Guo Hong ran a side business while still in school. Purveying their services as website creators, they had, over the years, created numerous digital platforms for start-ups and organisations. Given their entrepreneurial spirit, it was only a matter of time before they decided to create a lucrative platform for themselves.

In 2013, the duo came up with the idea of a web portal that allows car rental companies to lease their cars in one collective space. Called RC9, the website and mobile application allow customers to compare and book trusted rental cars in various countries and locations.

Having successfully applied for a SPRING Singapore ACE Startup grant, the duo embarked on their new start-up journey and were soon invited to take up an office space at JTC Launchpad @ one-north.

In this dynamic environment designed for upcoming companies in the biomedical sciences, infocomm, media, electronics and engineering industries, Png and Lim were surrounded by like-minded individuals. One of their neighbours was Standices, a company that provides leading edge digital research and big data analyses. With their proximity and entrepreneurial spirit, the companies began collaborating in the analysis of large databases to derive insights for RC9’s growth in the region.

By the end of 2015, RC9 had convinced more than 35 companies to come on board its platform and garnered investments from a public-listed company and top industry executives such as former Europcar Singapore CEO Fabian Hoffmann.

Co-founders of RC9, Mr Daryl Png (middle) with Mr Rex Lim, Head of System Architect (left) and Mr Jovan Tan, Venture Associate at Tri5 Ventures

With advice from their mentors and agencies such as SPRING Singapore and IE Singapore, RC9 found its way to greater success and today offers car rental services in more than 7,300 locations and 150 countries.

By this time, however, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Grab began changing the car rental market. “People didn’t rent cars as much for daily and weekly purposes, so we had to change our business model to focus on tourists and travellers worldwide,” said Png.

With advice from their mentors and agencies such as SPRING Singapore and IE Singapore, RC9 found its way to greater success and today offers car rental services in more than 7,300 locations and 150 countries.

Looking back at his company’s beginnings, Png says that the SPRING Singapore ACE Startup grant was integral to its success — not merely in monetary terms, but in providing support, knowledge and insights.

“The entrepreneurial spirit has to be encompassed with depth and experience. Otherwise, you keep banging into walls,” said Png. “Without the SPRING grant, we would never have lasted. It not only gave us funding, it put us in touch with mentors and made us think about how to make every dollar count.

“The best thing about being a young founder of a start-up is that you meet a lot of owners of small, medium sized and large companies, and I think some of them see their younger selves in us and have been very generous in nurturing us.

“The journey so far has been a character-building experience. It has helped us grow tremendously and we truly find ourselves when we lose ourselves in service of others. I’ve learned more about myself and it has taught me humility and the importance of being teachable.”

These personal experiences are helping to propel the company to greater heights. RC9 is now exploring other business models such as licensing and a comprehensive vehicle fleet management system that allows car rental companies to rent their vehicles on RC9’s platform while digitalising their own internal processes.

RC9 has since moved into bigger premises at Paya Lebar and has an office in Melbourne, as part of its plans to target the larger Australian market.

This article brought to you by UPSTART

 

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