Stroll Guam founder and CEO Amit Sachdev doesn’t miss a beat with his passion for innovation.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
With Bangkok’s ubiquitous delivery drivers and other ride-sharing services, it’s often hard to imagine a city without the sea of coloured jackets or stickers that serve as a coat of arms for one brand or another. However, necessity is the mother – or father – of invention, and Amitpal ‘Amit’ Singh Sachdev rose to the challenge when no such convenience materialised where he lived. Guam-born and raised but with Thai-Indian parents, Amit attended St. John’s School before attending university in the Los Angeles Recording School in California, which is where the idea was born for what he calls “Guam’s own super app, similar to the likes of Grab and LINE MAN,” Stroll Guam.
With a range of experiences despite his young 30 years, Amit remains humble in the face of his achievements, speaking impassionedly about his vision to serve his community through creating opportunities in both music and tech.
Growing up in Guam but with your international background, do you feel like your Indian heritage has influenced your beliefs and values?
Indian culture has definitely played a role in my upbringing. The importance of family and values has helped shape my character, while being surrounded by many cultural influences has also brought me a lot of worth.
What was your journey like prior to starting your current platform?
Before I graduated from Los Angeles Recording School with a Bachelor of Science in Audio Production, I started DJing when I was 12 and taught myself music production when I was around 15 or 16. I’ve always had a strong interest in music and was willing to put in the extra hours of work to keep improving, and it’s paid off. For example, I’ve had the opportunity to work with my favourite artists and producers before and after graduating recording school.
Can you walk us through the concept behind Stroll Guam and what makes it unique from other rideshare services?
We pride ourselves in thinking global but acting local. We are very focused on the Guam market and feel we have a better understanding of the island compared to other companies. Having been both a rider and driver in ride-hailing, I understand both perspectives well enough to deliver a great product for our users and drivers.
We are also the only ride-hailing platform that has digital advertising in our vehicles. This gives customers a chance to scan QR codes from a screen and receive promotions from their favourite stores and restaurants. In a few months, we will also be launching food delivery, with plans to venture into grocery delivery and digital payments.
What sparked the idea behind the business?
The idea of Stroll Guam came to me after I graduated, while I was living in Los Angeles. I had taken an Uber and was intrigued by both the platform and business model. Curious to see the driver’s perspective, I became an Uber driver. The benefits were great – I loved being able to work on my own schedule and get paid weekly. It also made transportation more efficient for both riders and drivers.
Having driven for a couple of weeks, I knew that Guam could really benefit from incorporating the same concept and business model. After weeks of research and phone calls, I began to design and build the platform-based app.
What has your business journey been like so far?
Being an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning of the journey, isn’t as glamorous as some people think. You have to be willing to make sacrifices and maintain exceptional focus. It was tough during the first months of business, but that was expected. It took us six months to complete 1,000 rides. After that, however, we started to average 1,000 rides a week. Now we have completed over 80,000 rides with even more services.
Who are your usual clientele, and who do you think your platform is aimed at the most?
The three customer segments in Guam are locals, tourists, and military personnel. In the beginning, the military market was our biggest customer base, but now our service is also used by many tourists and locals. We are more affordable and efficient compared to the taxis and buses on the island, and this has allowed us to scale quickly in a short amount of time.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
Being able to help others by creating opportunities. I have always wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Stroll Guam, along with my music endeavours, has enabled me to accomplish this. I’m proud to have been able to create a platform with my team that has paid out close to US$ 1 million to drivers since its inception.
Over the years, what accomplishments are you most proud of? Do you have any regrets?
Completing 50,000 rides, expanding the team from a staff of 3 to 11, and introducing other services that add to our ride-hailing service. In terms of music, I have gotten to work with the kind of artists and producers that people dream of working with. I will also be returning to the music industry with another platform that will hopefully also disrupt the scene.
Do you have any advice for anyone wishing to start their own business?
Stay focused, stay determined, and keep learning. It’s not about not making mistakes, it’s about not making the same mistakes. Always learn from your experiences, whether good or bad. If possible, also learn from others to prevent yourself from making similar mistakes. Overcome challenges through constant research and perseverance – there is always a solution to every problem if you are willing to find it.
Where do you see yourself in the future, both personally and professionally?
I’m making the transition from spending most of my time in Guam to Bangkok, as I will be taking on other opportunities in the region, especially in music and tech. I will shortly be announcing my next music opportunity, through which I want to find and cultivate the best talent in the region, especially women. I also want to use music as a way to give back to the community. Overall, I want to continue bringing as much value as I can to others, no matter where I am in the world.
Pictures taken at Art Box Thailand.