ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Meet the start-up that wants to be the 'Expedia' of bus travel in ASEAN.
Sunday, 29th September 2013
Source : Corinne Wan
One gave up a high-paying job in a multinational, the other left a family business. Together, Ashwin Jeyapalasingam and Viren Doshi launched a start-up, CatchThatBus, to do exactly that – help travellers in South-east Asia catch that bus online.

Ashwin Jeyapalasingam, COO (pictured left in photo), and Viren Doshi, CEO (pictured right) formed the company a year ago "to bring about a positive change in the travel and transportation industry through the delivery of demand-driven revolutionary and innovative ideas."

4Hoteliers Image Library"We have been friends for 15 years and always wanted to do something together and this is the perfect fit," they said.

The two, aged 33, want to make the whole bus experience more pleasant and more personal for travellers – first in Malaysia and later throughout South-east Asia.

Viren, who has lived outside Malaysia and travelled extensively, found that moving around by public transport in Malaysia challenging at times. Not only were tickets unavailable, but purchasing them was difficult.

"I lived overseas for a while and on my return I travelled around the country, but faced issues when travelling around by bus. Buying a bus ticket was a bit of a painful process. The bus companies, typical brick and mortar businesses, don't market their services, some don't have websites and their main concern is in selling the tickets. Most lack focus, and the real consumer experience is lacking, as is the stickiness factor in service."

This is where CatchThatBus comes in. "We create ease of access in buying tickets via our website, and deliver personalised experience with a call line for customers to contact us."

Although formed a year ago with a staff of five, the company only started selling tickets on August 20. A lot of work had to be done on the backend to bring its partners in line with the system.

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