SWAT Mobility: Pathway to Internationalisation

Singapore Business Federation
Singapore Business Federation
Published on:
Sep 21, 2023

In 2021, SWAT Mobility earned a coveted spot in Forbes Asia’s “100 Companies to Watch.” It is an accolade that speaks volumes about the company’s trajectory and vision. Central to its success are the company’s Co-founders Arthur Chua and Jarrold Ong, whose leadership style – marked by approachability, preparation, and focus – has set the tone for the company’s rise.

Founded in 2016, SWAT Mobility is a leading mobility solutions firm that offers demand-responsive ride-sharing services using high-capacity vehicles. Its proprietary algorithm, renowned globally, sets benchmarks for efficient route planning and optimisation, helping companies and cities to tackle transportation challenges.

“Our vision at SWAT is to move more with less. We felt this is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence where disruption happens. With an algorithm where we can do away with fixed routes, we can do something more dynamic and efficient.” – Mr Jarrold Ong, CEO and Co-founder.

How do young entrepreneurs steer a Singaporean company towards becoming an international contributor? Their forward-thinking mindset has been crucial. As entrepreneurs, they understand the importance of continual innovation. Under their stewardship, SWAT Mobility’s patented algorithm has received international acclaim; its impact documented comprehensively through scholarly papers and case studies.

Mr Jarrold Ong sharing how SWAT Mobility customises solutions based on each client’s business needs.

Over the last few years, SWAT Mobility has completed seven million journeys and built up 200 constraints that work in real-life operations. The company believes in creating tangible value by providing customised planning, automated solutions, and close collaboration with clients to meet diverse transportation needs, whether they are last-mile connectivity, commuter passes, on-demand logistics, or digitalised transport management. Their goal is to be the one-stop shop for all logistics planning requirements.

Data analytics has emerged as a powerful tool for refining operations. In line with the strategics outlined in the Logistics Industry Transformation Map (ITM), SWAT Mobility stands at the forefront of this evolution, offering a sophisticated system that empowers logistic operators to plan and streamline last-mile deliveries meticulously. Through their application, operators can receive real-time insights into route efficiency, optimising time and manpower.

In 2021, Singapore Business Federation produced a Policy Paper on “Sustainability in Business, Sustainability as Business: Green Growth Opportunities for Singapore Companies”, which outlined opportunities and recommendations for business action and government support needed to expedite the momentum towards environmental sustainability to tap green growth opportunities. This paper was developed in consultation with a diverse pool of industry stakeholders, and SWAT Mobility was one of them.

SWAT Mobility Co-founders Arthur Chua (third from left) and Jarrold Ong (fifth from left) with Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and Singapore Business Federation representatives at a dialogue on Logistics Industry Transformation Map (ITM).

By harnessing the data gathered, SWAT Mobility facilitates crafting efficient routes, focusing on frequently-used pathways during peak hours. This targeted approach not only provides demand-responsive services but also minimises inefficiencies on less popular routes. This data-driven technology revolutionises the logistics sector, allowing for real-time delivery tracking and enhanced fleet communication, which ultimately leads to superior customer service.

Furthermore, SWAT Mobility’s cloud-based algorithm sets it up for expansion beyond Singapore’s borders, positioning it to serve regional countries with innovative offerings. The power of cloud-based storage allows for instantaneous setup and remote management of analytics and dashboards. This sophisticated algorithm not only streamlines route optimisation but also provides invaluable data on punctuality, travel time and utilisation costs. Indeed, SWAT Mobility is at the forefront of the next transport evolution.

SWAT Mobility’s reach extends beyond Singapore, with operations in Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Its 80-strong team includes tech engineers from various countries, with about half of them engaged in research and development while working remotely worldwide. With such a diverse team, Mr Ong shared that they had to overcome cultural differences and adopt a more agile, open-minded management approach. Team members are encouraged to be self-initiated, work collaboratively as teams, with less micro-managing on Mr Ong’s end.

Nurturing this diverse team, especially in the competitive tech sector, can be challenging.  To Mr Ong, a winning team thrives on diversity and a robust company culture defined by values like respect, equality, and trust. These are not mere words but active principles he upholds, and demonstrated in his commitment to interview every employee and harness technology for seamless workflow and coordination. Clear expectations, transparent communication and celebration of victories both minor and monumental, encapsulate his leadership approach. SWAT Mobility success can largely be attributed to its open culture, characterised by its flat hierarchy and resilient leadership, which fosters ownership, camaraderie and pride amidst growth and challenges in their internationalisation expansion plans.

Some of SWAT Mobility’s Singapore-based team members.

SWAT Mobility’s story is testament to the importance of embracing global perspectives, fostering a collaborative culture, and empowering teams to excel in an interconnected world.

Looking ahead, SWAT Mobility seeks to forge deeper inroads into the logistics market and extend its Asia-Pacific presence. The team aims to offer their patented algorithm, enriched with comprehensive mapping data, to both passenger transport and last-mile delivery sectors. Their ultimate ambition? “To be the world’s premier patented mobility provider.”