July 2012

AutoMoneyBack, which offers group buying for cars, gets US$200,000 in seed funding

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AutoMoneyBack, a website that offers a range of services for car and home buyers, closed a seed funding of S$250,000 (US$200,000) from a group of private investors last month.

The startup also relaunched their services this year and publicized it through an outdoor campaign involving taxis. They plan to use the funds to expand their operations and engage in more marketing activities.

AutoMoneyBack essentially serves as a one-stop destination for a variety of loans and insurance products for vehicles and homes. They also have assistance schemes designed to help aspiring car owners make the right purchasing decisions and existing car owners to sell their vehicles.

For customers who would like to buy their car at a deep discount and don’t mind waiting, the website offers a group buying program.

It doesn’t work like Groupon however — one does not simply buy a voucher and redeem it at a car shop. Instead, after prospective buyers indicate the make of the vehicle they want, AutoMoneyBack will group them with other aspiring owners and process the documentation needed to get the discount.

The whole process could take a month, since forming groups take time. There’s also a need to wait for the next COE bidding exercise.  As a general rule, steeper discounts can be sought if there’s more people in a group and if the car is more expensive.

Finally, customers can use a rewards program when making purchases on the site. The points can be redeemed for gift vouchers.

The company is founded by Chua Teck Hiong, who is also a consultant for computing solutions startup Progeniq and its former VP for business development, together with Adrian Ang, an insurance agent with 13 years of experience.


First published by by Terence LEE.

Property – To buy or not to buy

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A reader who had a friend in her 30s shared this true story with us, and we thought you might be able to relate.

Hubby asked me what I’d like to have for my coming birthday.

In the past year I haven’t got anything for my birthday, Christmas and wedding anniversary. With pregnancy and a newborn, we were too occupied to shop for presents.

“Just go and get anything nice,” he said.

Then he suddenly recalled,

“Do you need to upgrade your car? The latest model of your dream car is in town now. Did you see the launch ads?”

I know. I’ve been reading about it since its conceptualization in Europe. They’re finally here!

“Why don’t you go for a test drive and pick the color first? I’ll get it for your birthday.”

That’s very sweet! I know hubby is eyeing for a new car too. But the high COE makes him put the purchase on hold.

That evening we were at a suburb shopping mall.

We decided to have dinner at a Japanese restaurant because the a-la-carte buffet was available at a good discount off the weekend prices.

After dinner, we went to buy some kitchen and bathroom accessories. We managed to bargain for a discount from the original price.

We got our daughter a dress from a good brand. It was sold at half price!

Then we headed for a bread shop to enjoy the 20 percent discount for purchase after 8.30 p.m.

We also got a cup of fresh juice from the next shop where the staff were clearing them at $1 before closing.

As we left the mall, I noticed that we enjoyed free parking during our stay.

We had a good laugh at the fact that we were too stingy to pay the original price for everything we bought or consumed that evening.

And suddenly, I realized that I made money from properties the same way by NOT buying them when they were first marketed at list prices.

I bought my 3rd property at $525,000 from the seller who got at it new at close to $800,000.

The previous owner of our residence purchased the house during its TOP at $1.2 million while we bought it from him at $735,000.

If only they could wait for just a few years to buy …

When developers are selling properties at premium future prices during the launch, why do buyers still rush there to get these overpriced new units?

My friend’s well-to-do grandpa once shared his shopping tips,

“All things are sold at their highest when they are new in the market. If you have the patience to wait, you can see their true value later.”

That night before we went to bed, I told hubby that I didn’t want the new car any more.

Just upgrade my mobile phone. And no need to buy the latest model.

I’m a pragmatic person who loves bargains and so does he. Above all, I don’t want him to look foolish when prices drop next time.

Let’s wait for the right time to buy.