ON-DEMAND service app MyKuya announces that its users can now use the app to shop in SM Supermalls as quarantine measures “inspired [the company] to continue expanding its horizons for the comfort of the Filipino people,” a statement read.

“In terms of demand [it’s now] 700% than it was before the pandemic and before the quarantine,” Shahab Shabibi, founder of MyKuya, said in an online conference on May 12.

The addition of enterprise partners, he said, was a response to demand for more variety as it allows customers to buy items from shops inside SM malls.

“By partnering with SM, we are able to provide our customers the convenience and safety that they seek during these difficult times when it comes to getting their desired food and other products,” he said in a release.

Among the services the app provides are messenger services, personal shopper service, grocery delivery, and other errands. The app has also partnered with Ministop, Ayala Malls, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

How it works is a user first clicks on the kind of service they want, indicates where the delivery will be made to, and how long the task will take. The fee depends on the distance and the time it will take to finish the job. The app promises to connect the customer to a service provider within two minutes or get P50.

Payment for the services and goods can either be made once delivery is completed if it’s under P1,000 or the “kuya” or “ate” (“older brother” and “older sister,” as the app calls its service providers) can first go to the customer’s residence to get cash or the customer can send the money via GCash.

In March, the three-year-old company noted a 300% increase in service bookings and added more than 5,000 individuals to provide services on the app. At the time, most of the bookings were for grocery deliveries. A month later, it announced that it was ready to accept 15,000 more individuals.

“Before the quarantine period, our services were quite evenly distributed, and from the moment that the quarantine began, about 80% of our orders became about grocery deliveries,” he explained.

Now that the country is more than two months in some version of quarantine and some cities are loosening up restrictions, Mr. Shabibi noted that they have seen demand for other services such as handyman, technician, and other specialized services. He said they will have those services soon on the app.

While many industries have paused their expansion plans because of quarantine restrictions to control the COVID-19 pandemic, for MyKuya, it sped up its growth.

“It has been war mode for us. Our team has been working seven days a week, double shift, since Day One of the quarantine. And the reason this happened is because we listened to our customers and we saw they need the service more than ever,” Mr. Shabibi said.

“So we had to definitely realign, and we had to work a lot harder to grow a lot faster and to be able to kind of take in and rapidly bring a lot of these pieces of our service community on board,” he added. — Zsarlene B. Chua