Four tech-savvy students from universities in Yangon put their heads together to develop Lan Kyone, a ride-sharing application that helped students hitch rides to get to school on time. Now, the Lan Kyone app is being modified, upgraded and expanded for commercial ride-sharing.
As it was at first aimed at university students, there was no charge. “It was a way to collectively hire a taxi or for students who have their own cars to connect with others who are going the same way,” said Kyaw Zin Htet, a mining and environmental engineering student at Yangon Technological University who is co-founder and CEO of Lan Kyone.
“We won US$3000 to develop the app after competing in the 2018 Start Up Challenge hosted by local incubator Phandeeyar last September,” he said.
The app’s four founders are each in charge of different parts of the service. The app can offer cheap ride-sharing options to help people who are working in different locations find a ride. For security, every user has to go through a verification process using their ID card.
Those who have their own car can offer other students rides. At Yangon Technological University, about 10 cars use the app. The app can’t be used when school is closed. One user, Nyein Than Thar Lwin, said, “Although we earn some money, it isn’t that much, but I am happy to be able to get students to the university on time.”
Upgrading the app
In operation for less than a year, Lan Kyone has over 300 active student users. Now, its founders are thinking big. They are upgrading the app to allow commercial ride-sharing.
Plans are afoot to monetize the operation. “We will make it a business. We are trying our best to solve the problem of using public transport during rush hour. By sharing rides, those who come to university can save money on fuel and it doesn’t cost much for the passenger, so it can be beneficial for both driver and rider,” he said.
With the new and upgraded app, those who come to the school in their own cars can offer to share rides with those who need a lift, and split the cost.
The ride-sharing app will enable route creation by those who have their own cars and requests for specific routes by those who need rides.
“We have made arrangements for the drivers to upload their routes so that if a passenger request matches, they can communicate with each other to share a ride. Users can report to us any problems,” said Wine La Min Aung, chief technology officer of Lan Kyone.
Up to four people can ride in a car, and after the software is upgraded, students will be able to use it more easily, said Aung Htet Myat, the app’s developer and co-founder.
Currently, the app targets city universities such as YTU, Yangon University, Yangon University of Information Technology, and Yangon University of Foreign Languages. It aims to serve other universities later, Aung Htet Myat said.
“In August, we will try to make one for office workers as well. As the app does not use taxis but personal vehicles, we are negotiating with the authorities for the necessary permits. There is no revenue being received from the software yet,” Kyaw Zin Htet said.
For now, the app still needs more work. After its flaws are fixed, it will be commercialized and will collect at least 10 percent in fees.
“We’re trying to improve the app to make it more reliable,” said Min Maung Maung, a member of the development team. “We would like to help ease the traffic problems in Yangon and reduce environmental pollution caused by exhaust fumes through ride sharing, which is another one of the aims of the software.”