Meet Startup @TW

Last minute shopping gets a whole lot better thanks to Taiwanese startup FunNow

Online booking platform FunNow recently announced the completion of their pre-A round fundraising, which netted them more than $1.5m. The Taiwanese startup specializes in helping shoppers find and book last minute deals from a wide range of services, be it for restaurants, hotels, massages, or even sporting events.

According to FunNow, users can book a reservation with as little as 15 minutes to spare before arriving. This allows for superb flexibility and a plethora of choices at great prices all the time. This is supported by the platform’s excellent app and website, both of which boast great search functionality along with categories based on interest or time of booking.

FunNow was developed by four Taiwanese entrepreneurs as they were working abroad in the Netherlands. They initially launched the platform to a limited audience in 2015, yet after the successful trial, FunNow’s app has been downloaded more than 300,000 times already. What’s more, more than 70% of users who download the app also create an account, leading to strong membership growth.

Expanding at home and abroad

At present, more than 1000 businesses are cooperating with FunNow in Taipei and Taichung alone, with numbers in other regions of Taiwan also steadily climbing. FunNow’s goal for this year is to expand to more partners, hopefully doubling to the overall number to over 2000. But the ambitious startup is eager to export its business model beyond Taiwan.

As of now, FunNow is beginning to enter markets like Hong Kong, Okinawa, and Bangkok. Before long, all of Southeast Asia should be able to benefit from the services of their platform.

This expansion is also driven by investors. Currently, total investments have reached nearly $2m, but numbers are set to rise even further. Having attended the Meet Taipei conference hosted by Business Next in late 2016, FunNow not only captivated many attendees, but also was able to attract many potential investors.

One of these, managing director of China Development Financial Guo Dajing, later agreed to back the startup with a large investment. Guo believes the key aspect of investing in startups is to find those that offer “a unique business model and strong execution.” He further adds that a team with international capabilities and understanding is even more valuable.

Besides investment from China Development Financial, FunNow also secured more than $300,000 from Taipei Angels Investment (TA), which recently has made a name for sponsoring startups focused on Southeast Asia such as Noodle Labs, Rental Taiwan, Sun Value, or Infinite Analytics. Launched in 2015, TA’s team meets monthly to identify three new companies they would like to support.

New Services and More Integration

FunNow is not only expanding regionally, but seeks to diversify its content to offer as many types of services as possible. According to CEO Chen Ting-kuan, “what makes us different is our ability to cross into other fields of leisure and entertainment.”

For instance, last season the startup successfully helped the Taiwanese baseball team Chinatrust Brothers to sell remaining tickets at the last minute. This season, FunNow is expanding their cooperation with the Brothers and adding new services.

For example, users can now order food through the app while in the stadium, allowing fans to focus on the game instead of waiting in line for snacks. What’s more, they also have promotions with nearby businesses, using IoT to expand their sales and customer satisfaction.

The FunNow app is available for iOS and Android. Once users have installed the app and logged in, they can begin to find and book last minute deals of their choosing. Although the company’s monetization model for now is based on charging a small service fee, customers are still receiving huge discounts since the service is selling unused capacity at extremely low prices.

In the future, the company aims to introduce more interaction between users within the app.