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The cleaning industry is one of the biggest employers in South Africa with millions of people making a living from cleaning homes and offices. Historically however, the industry has had very little to do with helping cleaners take charge of their lives and futures, and for many, cleaning has become a way to support their families if they are unable to find other employment.
Similar to local startup SweepSouth, Domestly (an online marketplace for requesting domestic workers) is changing all that with an exciting new platform that’s giving cleaning professionals the chance to empower themselves by giving them the opportunity to find work, set their own rates, and realise a sense of pride in the service they offer. And it’s using the latest technology to bring it all together.
The idea took shape in mid 2014 when Domestly co-founder and CEO, Berno Potgieter (pictured right) took it upon himself to help domestic worker Victoria Ngetu, who had worked for his family for 10 years, find new job opportunities.
“While helping Victoria look for work, and at the same time searching for a cleaning professional for my own home, I quickly realised that there was no platform which could reliably help either of us achieve our goals,” says Potgieter. “I realised that an opportunity existed to create an online space where cleaning professionals could market their skills to potential employers, and employers could find a reliable, vetted cleaner who fitted their budget and cleaning requirements.”
“By working with professional cleaners and cleaning teams, Domestly is making housekeeping more accessible to everyone, while creating business opportunities for cleaners,” says Thatoyaona Marumo (pictured left), Domestly co-founder and COO. “And with the launch of our app, we’re pulling the whole industry together on one platform and changing it forever.”
The end result was Domestly, a digitally savvy startup that is enabling consumers in Cape Town to find their match online or via a smart new app available for iPhone and Android.
The Domestly app gives consumers the freedom to choose a professional home cleaner based on her experience and recent reviews, and enables cleaners to confirm job requests and track their work schedules at the click of a button. Those without smartphones, can access the same functionality via a mobile site tailored for feature phones.
Domestly has also invested into many cleaners by supplying them with smartphones preloaded with data, airtime as well as the Domestly Partner app (also available on the Google Play store). What’s more, all payment is made electronically, ensuring that it’s safe and secure.
The startup is backed by some of the most influential profiles in the Silicon Cape tech community which include mobile industry superstar Hannes van Rensburg, who exited mobile financial services company Fundamo for a massive US$110-million to Visa in 2011.
Other investors include Ernst Hertzog from Action Hero Ventures, Adriaan Tromp and Hein Carse. Adriaan Tromp brings 15 years of combined financial and operational experience working within global technology companies like Yahoo, ICO Global Communications and Leisureplanet. Hein Carse brings to the startup his experience within the Remgro group and several other investments he holds in technology companies.
Details surrounding the investment was not disclosed but based on the number of platforms launched and still in the pipeline, we can safely presume it to be in the millions.