Expat Life in Thailand sat down with Silratth Sukwatthanasiri CEO and founder of Drivemate which is a peer to peer,
car sharing App that is achieving great things in Bangkok. Similar in concept to airBNB but for cars, it offers Thai millennials, businesses and expats all the advantages of car rental or usage without any of the hassles of ownership.
This bright, young, business savvy, Thai businessman having grown up within a hard working Thai dynasty of business ownership studied in Japan and graduated with. He had been schooled since an early age how to research and set up a business. To recruit, train, motivate and deploy staff. To present the benefits and sell to a wide audience delivering cost effective results for a known target audience. He had worked hard for the family business for about 7 years learning his trade and honing his skills. He told me that he was in Japan watching TV and stumbled on a Ted Talk interviewing one of the two women founders of a car sharing business in the US called Zipcar and Buzzcar in France.
He thought that it made so much sense. Why leave an expensive asset on the driveway at home deprecating every day whilst at work when you don’t use it and why tie up all that capital when you can use it so more effectively elsewhere. He talked it through with his wife Thanyatorn and together they researched the market. They saw that the concept was working effectively in the US, Switzerland, France, Japan and other countries and were convinced that they could make it work in Thailand. The company Turo in the US had more than 5 million people using it successfully and 200,000 cars in. They approached LMG Insurance who liked the idea and said that they would work with them and that they would provide first insurance cover to all of their customers. They formed and opened the company in July 2016 and got to work and after 6 months showed impressive sales. With these results and what they had learned in practice in Thailand they sought ventures capital interest and were lucky to be introduced to 500 Tuk Tuk in the US run by two very sharp Thai financiers. He pitched the idea to them and they were onboard quickly as they realised its potential.
They gave the couple their seed finance and off they went. They bought in the web specialists and the technical team that they needed to set up the structure and now 3 years later they have a pool of 9,000 cars and the leads coming in fast and furious. They have a young enthusiastic staff of 25 and are growing quickly. He told me that the ‘sharing economy’ is growing so rapidly that in 2023 it will be worth 11Bn USD. In the future people will purchase less cars and subscribe to rental schemes more and more. Their average rental partner will receive 6,000B return every month. They work with all of the major hire companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, National, Thai Rentacar and Europcar so have plenty of stock and lots of choice. They believe that they can deliver a price up to 10% cheaper than all of the traditional car hire companies and that they offer the flexibility of choice.
How often do we all use our cars, how many days a month? How often do you look at your sedan and wish it was a sports car for the weekend or a people carrier able to take your extended family all in one vehicle?
Drivemate can answer all of those needs as you rent what you need, when you need it. The concept is perfect for expats as whether they are here for a short set period on a work project. Here to escape the harsh winters in Scandinavia or northern Europe for 4 months of the year, or you need a long term flexible arrangement that gives you a pool of vehicles to choose from that suit every possible situation or need. You can hire for one month to 3 years with no commitment. They can arrange for a car to be at the airport when you arrive or to be delivered to any destination and when you have finished with the car you can just inform them where you will leave it. LMG Insurance covers the vehicle for all eventualities during the period of ‘ownership’ and if there are any problems you connect with an English speaking customer service agent at Drivemate and they act as an on road concierge. Give Drivemate a call I am sure that they will impress and that it will change your renting habits for the future.
Drivemate Company Limited : 1168 Wasutha Building, Rama 9 Road, Suanluang Suanluang Bangkok 10250