PETALING JAYA: Golf app Deemples plans to raise US$500,000 (RM2.09 million) early next year to scale its business as it starts monetisation by helping golf courses accept payments from golfers.
Deemples Technologies Sdn Bhd founder David Wong said it has raised US$270,000 from angel investors since its establishment in 2017 and the next round of fund raising will similarly be used for the development and marketing of Deemples.
Deemples is an app that golfers use to find other golfers to golf with. The free-to-use app was created to solve the golfing problem of Wong’s friends not being able to make it for golf and it has become the go-to for the golfing community to find golf buddies and enable them to organise games at preferred locations and time slots.
“In the last three years, we were running on a free model, but now we are starting to monetise. We’re testing with three or four golf courses currently and by next year, we will have three or four golf courses rolled out, then raise funds to get other golf courses onboard (for payments),” he told SunBiz in a recent interview.
Currently, golf courses are not able to secure payments for bookings until golfers turn up to play. There is also no penalty for no-shows, resulting in potentially missed revenue for golf courses despite having received a booking.
“We’ll take a fee from what the golf courses collect. Normal platforms take 20% but to start with, we’ll take 10%, especially those golf courses that support us first. It’s like trying to make the golf course like the airline or hotel industry. You don’t just book the hotel or airline and not pay,” explained Wong.
There are 350 golf courses listed on Deemples, with over 5,000 users playing over 2,000 rounds of golf a month through the app. Wong said it is targeting 20,000 rounds per month for Malaysia by the end of next year, using 20,000 users as a gauge. He also stressed that the number of rounds has more significance than the number of users.
There is an estimate of 300,000 golfers in the country and Wong said Malaysia is the cheapest place to play and learn golf in Southeast Asia given that it is the most matured market.
“The biggest problem for me was when I wanted to play (golf) and my friends couldn’t play. Then I also can’t play. Hence I build Deemples to help find other people play golf.”
He said when golfers could not find each other to play, golf courses and the golf industry will suffer with the reduction of golf consumption.
“Most golf facilities resort to just price cuts, eating into margins, making the industry unsustainable, when the problem wasn’t pricing to begin with. Deemples helps golfers find each other, so demand for golf and golf items increase, and the golf industry gets to live another day,” said Wong.
Deemples is bridging the gap between golf courses and golfers across five countries – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei. Wong said it wants to solidify its position in these markets with more marketing activities. There are also plans to launch a marketplace in Deemples in three to four years for users to sell golf items within the app.