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Oxford MBAs Push Sharing Economy With Southeast Asia Services App

B-school venture billed as Uber for local services

By  Marco De Novellis

Mon Nov 9 2015

Uber has steamrollered into the taxi industry, causing world-wide disruption but enjoying astronomical success. Airbnb has revolutionized the way we go on holiday, where we stay and what we pay. Now, a team of Oxford Saïd MBA graduates are making daily life easier with ServisHero, a sharing economy venture which connects people with local service providers at the touch of a button.

ServisHero is being described as the Uber for the local service industry. The location-aware app quickly connects users to a verified local service provider who then contacts the user with a quote. Users can easily search for and book local tutors, plumbers, electricians, cleaners or yoga, swimming and language classes.

Set-up in Malaysia in June 2015 and already launched in Singapore, the app has become one of the fastest-growing in Southeast Asia, with the number of users increasing at a rate of 50% every week.

“We’re amazed at the growth rate,” says co-founder and CEO Karl Loo, who thought up ServisHero when he struggled to find someone to fix his air conditioning.

The sharing economy is a burgeoning business area that many MBA students are interested in. (Its future is the subject of our annual Global MBA Competition, which asks the question: What else will we be Uber’ing by 2050?)

Karl met fellow co-founder, CFO and MBA graduate Jason Kang, at Oxford Saïd. The two budding entrepreneurs combined the business skills learnt on the MBA to construct a successful project and put together a formidable team including Wharton and INSEAD MBA graduates as well as PR and content marketing director and fellow Oxford Said graduate, Sonam Pelden.

“Karl, Sonam and I all come from totally different industry backgrounds,” says Jason. “We used the MBA to develop our own personal business interests as well as our collective passion for the sharing economy; our varied expertise can all be applied to improving the way we work at ServisHero.”

Karl is a typically ambitious MBA graduate. He wants ServisHero “to transform and improve the continent’s service industry, and to boost income levels for thousands of small businesses and individual professionals”.