The Business Times – BizIT
Startup offers live money changer rates
By Victoria Ho
Mr Labruyere said the value proposition for changers is in helping them get more business, since most people already have a favourite changer that they don’t often stray from.
MOST people have a money changer they swear by, but a new Singaporean startup is setting out to turn the tables on the industry by offering users a live list of money changer rates.
Julien Labruyere, CEO of Get4x, told BizIT that the company offers a live snapshot of changer rates that are fed to the company’s website. Users can search by changers which are nearer to them.
Users can also set a hold on an amount they intend to change if they find a rate they are happy with. The changer holds the rate so that the user can come and transact in person later in the day.
For now, he has a pool of just 25 changers feeding him with the data, but he is actively canvassing for more. He doesn’t do the development work on the software product – the five developers in his team of seven take care of that – and his energies are spent establishing relationships with changers. He expects to add 10 more in the week.
Eventually, as more users come on board, he hopes that more of the changers will set up priority lanes for Get4x customers, to help them beat the queue at the money changers’ outlets.
The idea, he said, is that users are helping the changers prepare their cash before they show up by indicating their interest through the site, rather than show up cold.
Two changers at Collyer Quay have set up express lanes for his users already, he said.
But while the service sounds like a good deal for users, full visibility into competitors’ rates hardly sounds like a good idea for a money changer.
Mr Labruyere said that the value proposition for changers is in helping them get more business, since most people already have a favourite changer that they don’t often stray from.
Get4x’s platform will also be expanded to add extra services for changers, such as reports on transactions and users, he said.
He said the service will help to link up different changers for deals between one another. A typical scenario is when changers don’t have sufficient amounts of a certain currency and need to trade with another nearby quickly, or have an excess that they want to offload. A notification system between changers is in the works that will help act as a broadcast system, he said.
Mr Labruyere, who came to Singapore as an expatriate for Orange five years ago, conceived the idea in 2011. Its limited launch came in September last year, and he feels he’s ready to take the idea bigger now that some of the early kinks have been ironed out.
Eventually, he will expand Get4x out of the island state from its base here. His next destination is set for Hong Kong, with Malaysia after that.
With some bootstrapped funding, he hopes to be ready for some venture capital funding by mid-2014.
“I’m looking at getting between $500,000 and $1 million for that funding round,” he said.
He estimates that he will need to attract about 100,000 users here by end-year before considering getting funding.
Right now, the site attracts about 1,000 unique visitors every day, and 500,000 views on its iPhone app every month.
The service will make its Android debut in the coming months.