Start-up snapshot: SweepSouth wants to disrupt domestic cleaning

Start-up: SweepSouth

Aisha R. Pandor and Alen Ribic

Aisha R. Pandor and Alen Ribic

South African start-up SweepSouth provides a convenient way to book home cleaning services online. Through technology, SweepSouth wants to modernise the domestic cleaning services industry. Founded by husband and wife team Alen Ribic and Aisha R. Pandor, the business was launched in June 2014, about five months after coming up with the concept.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

Our aim is to take the hassle out of getting your place cleaned. SweepSouth is a platform for booking home cleaning services online from your laptop, phone or tablet. We connect you with an experienced, insured and vetted cleaner in minutes. We work on a per hour basis, our cleaners are highly rated, and we offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.

2. How did you finance your company? 

Our start-up has been bootstrapped thus far, but we are in the process of finalising our first round of funding with a really awesome and experienced team of high-profile investors, who we are so excited to be working with.

3. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company, where would it go?

It would go towards increasing growth and further streamlining logistics and operations. That said, we firmly believe in the lean model and would be weary of making use of such a large amount so early on and too quickly. Being lean means being able to deeply understand all details of the business, act quickly and perfect product/market fit. For a tech start-up, this also gives you clues as to where to direct your attention, where/when to automate processes and what’s working/not working.

4. What risks does your business face?

Like many South African start-ups, we are faced with typical developing market challenges, where many consumers are only just starting to become familiar with shopping online, let alone using the internet to book home services. So there is definitely the risk of slower uptake, especially when trying to scale to large numbers quickly. We also face risks related to South Africa’s general ecosystem, including our cleaners dealing with a less structured and predictable public transport system.

5. What has been the biggest mistake you have made, and what have you learnt from it?

In these early stages there haven’t been any big mistakes. Certainly though, as a husband-wife co-founder team, we’ve had to separate our start-up from our personal life and ensure we still make time for family (something we still struggle with!). We also had to move from a “build it and the people will come” attitude, to realising very early on the importance of an active sales role as co-founders of a start-up, and having to learn those skills along the way.