FINDAPRO app helps S'pore SMEs look for short-term pros

Small and medium enterprises and homeowners looking for short-term professional help to do specific tasks or assignments may want to try the FINDAPRO app.

FINDAPRO connects quality professionals instantly and effectively with customers looking for reliable professional services. Through FINDAPRO, PMETs, especially those who are retrenched or retired, will be able to put their knowledge and skills to good use.

Instead of scouring the web, SMEs can use FINDAPRO to put up their requests, which will be broadcast to the best matched professionals in real-time who may then submit their bids. They will be able to review the profiles and background information of the service providers as well as feedback from their previous clients.

They will also be able to chat via an In-app communication channel within the FINDAPRO app – removing the hassle of switching between apps to talk before deciding on a deal. Personal mobile numbers will be kept private and not disclosed to professional service providers until a deal has been agreed. Secured cashless payments will be held in escrow by FINDAPRO and released only after delivery of the task or service.

FINDAPRO is the brainchild of a Singapore start-up company, Creative Fountain Pte Ltd.

Xu Jin, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said: “Like many people, my partners and I had faced difficulties of finding trustworthy service providers for business and office problems ranging from accounting to legal advice as well as more technical services such as plumbing, cleaning and those arising from faulty air-cons, electricity and phones. Our aim is for FINDAPRO to be the “most trustworthy, most convenient and most complete platform" in Singapore and other markets that we intend to penetrate.”

In addition to providing customers convenient access to professional services, the app comes at an pertinent time of rising unemployment - to give PMETs – especially those who have been retrenched or retired, a new avenue to earn income from providing freelance services.

“In recent years, more and more Singaporeans have become freelance workers – either due to retrenchment, redundancy or just a personal desire to have a more flexible work schedule to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle. There is therefore a fast growing group of professionals with loads of experience who can offer customers the quality services that they are seeking. FINDAPRO is therefore an excellent place for them - a free and reliable platform that works like “Uber for local professionals”. Unlike other online Human Resource (HR) platforms, FINDAPRO does not charge any commission for its services,” said Xu.

The strength of the app stems from the fact that it is totally free, simple to get on board, and to use its standardized verification process and integrated chat and payment modules. It also encourages real-time responses and direct communication.

Xu said it took three months and an estimated S$1 million to develop and market the FINDAPRO app and its sister product – IMAPRO app (for freelancers and professionals to market their services) leveraging on the company’s strong technology team in Singapore as well as experiences and technologies accumulated from building its previous product LongCube.

Creative Fountain is targeting a Singapore customer base of around 1.2 million local households and about 200,000 small businesses (SMEs).

Within a short span of just months, the app has gained a user base of about 33,000 customers and 3,000 professionals. The FINDAPRO app has seen some 1,600 transactions on its platform since its launch in March.

Set up in 2014 by  Xu together with two other entrepreneurs -  Zhao Hanfeng and Wang Hualei, Creative Fountain has attracted funding from angel investors and two Silicon Valley funds - TEEC Angel Fund and zPark Capital.

The angel investor who supported the company since its inception is Stanley Zhang Xiangdong, a pioneer in China's Internet business and now the managing partner of a tech fund Jubilee Capital Management in Singapore.

TEEC Angel Fund is a Silicon Valley based super angel fund operated by a team of veteran entrepreneurs or executives, including the Tsinghua Entrepreneur & Executive Club (TEEC) network. The individuals are all experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors.

Creative Fountain raised about US$1.5 million since inception and is planning to raise its pre- A funding of US$2 million for further expansion.