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Singapore startup Smove exits car-sharing market, now under liquidation

Smove had grown to be one of the biggest car-sharing services in Singapore, alongside players like BlueSG and Tribecar.

It hasn’t always been a ‘smove’ business journey for this local car-sharing startup.

When Smove first launched in Singapore in 2013, it only had a small fleet of six electric cars covering a small area islandwide.

Co-founded by Tom Lokenvitz (CEO) and Joseph Ting (COO), the firm was also a very small outfit with only four staff members.

The small team had no choice but to put on multiple hats—clean, fix and maintain the vehicles while trying to grow Smove’s network of locations in Singapore.

The car-sharing economy in Singapore was non-existent back then, and they had to work hard to find ways to scale the business.

They soon started running out of cash, and some even spent their nights sleeping in the office for weeks trying to save on rent.

Some of their staff hadn’t been paid for months, and they were “facing the prospect of bankruptcy,” said Ting in a 2018 interview with Vulcan Post.

Under Liquidation

Fast forward seven years later, the startup is back to square one and has since gone bust.

This is a huge step back, considering that Smove had grown to be one of the biggest car-sharing services in Singapore, alongside players like BlueSG and Tribecar.

The Straits Times reported yesterday (June 2) that Smove is under “provisional liquidation” since May 21, making it the first major player in the vehicle rental market to fold up in recent years.

This news is in contrast to Smove CEO Lokenvitz’s comments back in February. He had denied news reports of the firm facing financial difficulty, and insisted that they are “not shutting down the business.”

He added that the firm is working on increasing its fleet size instead.

On April 29, Smove posted on its Facebook page that the government has requested them to cease operation because they “are no longer deemed an essential service during the extended COVID-19 circuit breaker.”

Smove added that it will await on the government’s instructions “in regards to future operation.”

There has been no further updates from the company since. Vulcan Post has reached out to Smove for comments on this matter, and has yet to receive a reply.

This article was first published by Vulcan Post.