The Co-Founder Of On-Demand Work Platform GoGet On The Future Of Work

By Chong Jinn Xiung

Through her on-demand work platform GoGet, Francesca Chia connects low- and semi-skilled part-time workers with businesses looking to scale up

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Cover  Francesca Chia

Before taking the plunge into the world of entrepreneurship, Francesca Chia worked at Boston Consulting Group as a management consultant. Though she learnt a lot from her time there, she knew it was time to start something of her own.

In 2014, she and her two co-founders created GoGet, an on-demand marketplace that connects businesses with workers, nicknamed GoGetters, who assist with on-demand errands and deliveries. The business has since expanded to connect businesses and individuals with GoGetters who hold specific training and can assist with a range of jobs that include logistics, sales and marketing, administration and operations.

The idea behind GoGet was to empower businesses to scale up quickly without having to scale their full-time overheads, Chia explains. At the same time, GoGet aims to empower flexible part-time workers and serve as a platform for them to earn a living—an enticing offer considering the vast majority of the labour force in Malaysia comprises of low- and semi-skilled workers, many of whom are not protected and living paycheck to paycheck.

“Small-medium enterprises make up the backbone of the economy in Malaysia and provide most of the employment opportunities in the country. We thought we could use technology to help break down big jobs into smaller bite-size jobs that can be distributed to a flexible workforce,” Chia explains. To date, GoGet is used by over 5,000 companies, including Lazada, Yoodo and Fashion Valet.

Most recently, GoGet raised a US$2 million Series A led by Monk’s Hill Ventures back in October 2020.

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The future of work will be more remote friendly
Francesca Chia

Challenges Posed By Covid-19

Despite going through many ups and downs during her entrepreneurial journey, Chia says nothing could have prepared her for the challenges Covid-19 posed. When the Movement Control Order (MCO) was announced in Malaysia in March 2020, GoGet received a flood of jobs and requests on its platform. 

These ranged from businesses scrambling to adapt to the new MCO environment as well as consumers stocking up on essentials for the following weeks. The huge influx in business severely taxed GoGet’s IT infrastructure; Chia says they had to quickly look into upgrading their systems to keep up with overwhelming demand.

“Almost overnight we had to think of new standard operating procedures for our GoGetters and enact measures like contactless deliveries for those engaged in logistics jobs,” said the 32-year-old entrepreneur. For two weeks, Chia and her team worked 20-hour days to keep GoGet running. It was fast becoming an essential service.

Chia says that the silver lining to the arduous experience was that it helped them prepare for subsequent MCOs in the following months. “Thanks to our earlier experience, we knew what to do and could better serve our GoGetters and clients.”

GoGet currently employs 25,000 GoGetters through its platform. Their services are mainly available in the the Malaysian districts of Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Bahru. During the most recent MCO, in early 2021, GoGet also helped businesses and consumers perform interstate deliveries while travel between states was prohibited in the country.

See also: How Travel App Klook Pivoted During the Covid Pandemic

The end of the traditional nine-to-five job?

With Covid-19 establishing new normals, Chia believes that the traditional nine-to-five job will inevitably change. The rigidness of these hours has long meant that employees don't have the flexibility to do necessary life tasks, from picking up children from school and caring for ageing parents to going to the bank. 

But the onset of Covid-19 flipped the script. When the MCO was implemented last year, a number of businesses in Malaysia were forced to close and more people were driven to take up part-time jobs to make ends meet.

“The future of work will be more remote friendly. I think we will see a shift in the market where employers, both small-medium enterprises and multinational corporations, are becoming more flexible and are even welcoming part-time gig workers into their workforce,” she says.

By doing so, Chia hopes employers will be open to the idea of employees working for multiple employers. This may allow those who are better able to multitask to earn more. 

In addition, companies of all sizes may reconsider their business models and look to incorporate a more dynamic workforce. “Traditional companies are looking at their core functions. In time, we may see some companies building new ventures where the core function, like deliveries, [is] performed by an on-demand workforce while being supported by a team of full-time workers in the headquarters.”

See more honourees from the Technology category of the Gen.T List 2020

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