The Asia Tech Podcast recently had the pleasure to speak with Damien Kerneis in the studio at True Digital Park. Damien is the Founder and CEO of SiamCarDeal. Damien is decidedly not new to Thailand. He was originally sent to Bangkok 15 years ago by the company that employed him in Paris. His job when he arrived in Thailand was to provide supply chain and logistics services to clients in the automotive space. Damien was helping his clients make and take deliveries to the auto dealers and this ended up being a proper segue into his new business.
Damien was always on the lookout for an avenue to start his own business. While still working at the logistics and supply-chain company, Damien needed to buy a car. He noted that the experience of trying to buy a car was horrible. He started doing some research on what the car buying process was like in more mature markets like France, the United States, and Australia. What he found during his research was that in the more mature markets, there were robust and sophisticated platforms that made the process so much easier for both consumers and the dealerships that sold them. So…in his words, “I just decided to launch it." This was the beginning of SiamCarDeal, back at the end of 2015.
The original idea was to build a marketplace that was essentially a business to consumer platform…e-commerce for cars. The SiamCarDeal team quickly realized that there was also a need for the manufacturers and dealers to manage the prospects and leads from the marketplace platforms that SiamCarDeal and others had built. They, therefore, started building a suite of software tools that could help the dealers do just that. This was the beginning of their B2B business. Building these tools ends up being a quite complex endeavor. This move into the enterprise space took a lot of time and created a whole host of new learnings for the team. Integration issues, understanding the proper user experience at a myriad of dealerships and selling to businesses that were not used to the digital marketing arena created its own challenges as well.