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Domestic cleaning startup SweepSouth sweeps in R10m

Jacques Coetzee contributed to this article.

Cape Town-based on-demand cleaning service SweepSouth has announced a new R10-million round of funding. This follows a thrilling 2015 which was filled with impressive company growth as well as recognition by one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious accelerators.

The new round comes from First Rand Group and Jobs Fund’s capitalised Vumela Fund, which is managed by FNB and Edge Growth, as well as Newton Partners, owned by Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen.

In October 2014, SweepSouth was the winning pitch at the SiMODiSA Startup SA conference. In April 2015, it went on to secure seed funding from Newton Partners, Africa Angels Network (AAN), and the Identity Development Fund (IDF). It was then selected to participate in the 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley.

Alen Ribic (pictured above right), co-founder of SweepSouth, tells Ventureburn that although they’re not able to provide the startup’s overall valuation, it is “very high multiples”.

Read more: SweepSouth weighs in on experience at Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups accelerator

“The start of 2016 suggests a year that will be no less exciting for us,” says Aisha Pandor (pictured above left), CEO of SweepSouth.

“With this major new cash injection from the Vumela Fund, we can further expand our rapidly growing national footprint,” adds Pandor.

“We think SweepSouth is one of the leading tech startups in South Africa. The on-demand economy is a huge growth area because a lot of consumers’ needs can be far better served with tech-enabled, on-demand services,” says lead investor Janice Johnston of Edge Growth. She adds that SweepSouth is the Uber of cleaning services in South Africa.

“This funding is important to us as it gets us closer to achieving the goal of modernising the cleaning services industry across the board, in the process, creating thousands of jobs for women and men, the vast majority of whom were unemployed,” says Ribic.

SweetSouth’s job creation opportunities is an important attribute of the investment for Vumela Fund, according to Johnson.

“SweepSouth has one of the most dynamic and creative teams in the startup space and we think they’ll take on-demand service adoption to another level in South Africa,” continues Johnston.

According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, SweepSouth has created thousands of job opportunities in the last few months for women, most of which were unemployed, which has resulted in over 100 000 hours of cleaning. Ribic adds that the startup has grown to employ 10 staff internally, with plans to fulfil other key positions in the coming months.

Author Bio

Graham van der Made: Editor
Graham started out as an electronics manager at Take2 Home Entertainment and went on to spend a further ten years in the South African ecommerce industry. During this time, Graham founded and managed an online geek and hobby shop. He has always had a passion for writing and has... More
  • Simon Gifford

    Good luck Aisha and Allen. Do not fall into the Homejoy trap (similar business in San Fran that collapsed last year -see http://www.mashauri.com/blog/secrets-of-startup-failure-the-homejoy-story/75

  • Dale

    I am from cosatu how can we set up a union at your company. We also dont want labour brokers .Can you define your service offerings please

    • This is basically an Uber for cleaning. The cleaners are basically freelancers and Sweepsouth connects them with clients.

      • Dale

        No such thing as that free(lancer) in the new south africa. Sounds like a labour broker. They are hired to do a job . by who a labour broker . We would like to set up Union at this Sweep place

        • I’m a freelancer, I live in SA. QED. Still it’s a free country I wish you luck with the cat herding.

  • Thank you Simon on the HomeJoy article, interesting read. I recently used SweepSouth and had a small chat with the lady who was doing the cleaning, she seemed okay (it is better than nothing) with what she was getting out of the deal. SweepSouth take about R9 per hour off the cleaner’s time. The cleaner has to factor in public transportation cost between jobs and you are right the unit economics of the service leaves the cleaner with less money at the end of the day and that leaves the company at a risk of its cleaners being poached by home owners etc. I however believe that with enough bookings around a particular cleaner’s location can offset this problem (if the company can guarantee 8 hours a day for 5 days of work, that will result in the cleaner taking home R4560 pm). I have no idea how they could give incentives to the cleaners to stay with the company. All in all it is interesting to see that startups can get funding in SA and wish the team all the best of luck.

  • Disappointed

    We have scheduled about 10 bookings with SweepSouth, and today for the 5th time the SweepStar who was assigned to us did not pitch. Granted public transport isn’t reliable, but this is the 5th time! The response time from the customer service staff is quite poor, as they took almost 4 hours to get back to me with a solution after they told me that they would “Call me right back!” I also had to call them multiple times before the problem even got addressed.

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