Mark Lim, 34, and Timothy Khor, 28 found that railing prices tend to fluctuate erratically.
The prices were also different in several apps, from the privately rented Grab app to the taxi operator ComfortDelGro.
For example, the advertised price for an app could be S $ 2-3 lower for another app for the same destination.
"Those few dollars per trip can add up to a lot, and that's the power of accumulation," said Mark, co-founder and CEO of the travel price comparison app SPUR.
A fascination for data spurred her to create an app
Both have always been intrigued by data and how it can be used to empower consumers.
They decided to build an aggregator business model for the hail campaign.
In April of this year they launched SPUR, an app that summarizes and lists tariff zones from three main providers in Singapore: ComfortDelGro, Grab and Gojek.
"SPUR was born out of COVID-19, a time when we were pondering how we could help commuters save money," said Mark.
Mark Lim / Photo Credit: 3D Matters
The name – SPUR – means to move forward, to encourage and create incentives.
SPUR uses the Land Transport Authority's open application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow two applications to communicate with each other.
Both co-founders have experience building startups and software.
Mark, an aerospace engineer, had built Singapore's first 3D printing business called 3D Matters for eight years. It has since been sold and is currently valued at a seven-digit amount.
Before founding SPUR, he was co-founder and COO of an automotive tech start-up from 2019.
Timothy, on the other hand, is an accountant by profession. He had spent two years developing an all-in-one aggregated tourism app that was incubated and accelerated by both SPRING SG and NTUitive.
He also has four years of experience building big data analytics for OCBC Bank and ThermoFisher Scientific, delivering productivity savings of S $ 5 million per year.
He is currently co-founder and CTO of SPUR.
How accurate is the app?
SPUR App / Photo credits: SPUR
The SPUR app showed that a ride from Orchard MRT Station to Northpoint City costs S $ 16.18 to S $ 18.18 for ComfortDelGro and Gojek and S $ 18 to 20 for Grab.
A quick review of the respective apps found S $ 16.20 for Gojek and S $ 19 for Grab, which were pretty accurate.
On ComfortDelGro, however, S $ 18.30 (excluding ERP fees) was reported, which is slightly different. With ERP fees it was more than S $ 20 in the ComfortDelGro app.
"We currently have no contact with Grab and Gojek because our algorithms are independent of them and we use data that is publicly available," said Mark.
For this reason, they used the transactions of around 600 end users to set the tariff ranges.
Some app reviews have mentioned that SPUR does not take into account peak surcharges for Grab and Gojek and apparently shows the standard prices for the area at all times.
ERP fees for taxis are also not taken into account.
Mark said he was encouraged by the comments and ratings he had received so far and that he would "keep improving the application to make it easier to use."
May include SMRT, Tada, and plans to work with transportation rental companies
SPUR currently has more than 4,000 app downloads and sees almost five users per minute on average every day. This corresponds to approximately 4,300 events that take place in the app every day.
Attempts are currently being made to reach out to other hail fighting companies such as SMRT and Tada to be included in the app.
Regarding other future plans, Mark shared that they plan to step into the logistics delivery area for the last mile and venture into fleet / route optimization for B2B transportation companies.
“We also intend to get in touch with SMEs that operate rental fleets, smaller taxi and limousine companies, to name a few, and have these as options available on our app interface.
"We hope to give our users as many options as possible while remaining agnostic about the larger platforms," he added.
He also did not rule out expansion overseas.
Expansion into Indonesia, Thailand or Myanmar – some of the most important Southeast Asian markets – is also currently being considered.
Selected image source: SPUR