Square Peg Capital leads $7m round in Kaodim, an Asian services marketplace

Paul Bassat’s Square Peg Capital has bet a Malaysia-based online marketplace can replicate in Asia the American success of home services unicorn, Thumbtack.

The Melbourne-headquartered venture capital firm has led a $US7 million Series B round in Kaodim, which was founded by Malaysian lawyers Jeffri Cheong and Choong Fui-Yu in 2014, and now claims to be the highest-revenue services hiring platform across Malaysia, Singapore, Phillippines and Indonesia.

Kaodim had hitherto raised $US4.5 million. Square Peg is now its largest external backer as it seeks to build a horizontal marketplace, which started off matching tradespeople to job requests from homeowners, but now brokers services from guitar lessons to personal training, according to Tushar Roy, a Sydney-based Square Peg partner who leads the manager’s investments in south-east Asia.

The Kaodim stake is Square Peg’s second new investment in south-east Asia in the last month after it led a $US13 million Series D round in Chope, a restaurant booking start-up from Singapore.

Kaodim founders Choong Fui-Yu (left) and Jeffri Cheong.
Kaodim founders Choong Fui-Yu (left) and Jeffri Cheong. Supplied

Mr Roy would not reveal any of the numbers which Square Peg had confirmed on Kaodim’s traction, other than to say its turnover was higher than all rivals in its four markets, and that “other operational and financial metrics” placed it in a leading position

“It’s so early for online marketplaces in these geographies, the numbers themselves are meaningless, and as soon as I mentioned one, every competitor would be leaping in to contest it,” Mr Roy said.

Kaodim had focused on user acquisition to date, but Mr Roy said it was beginning to explore monetisation opportunities with the launch of products like Kaodim Direct, where instead of customers receiving several quotes from service providers, they are connected directly with a provider rated highly by the platform’s community.

Square Peg was joined in the Series B round by SIG Asia. Existing investors in Kaodim include 500 Startups and Venturra Capital.

Original article written by Michael Bailey can be found at https://bit.ly/32EmOLg

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