SweepSouth is South Africa’s first end-to-end booking platform for home cleaning services. The online platform and mobile app allows customers to book ad hoc cleaning services and each booking is customised to the individual requirements of the customer. The platform connects the estimated 1.2 million registered domestic workers to potential workers and employers.
SweepSouth is one of the fastest-growing tech start-ups in South Africa and it currently operates in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria.
It has been praised for its ethical business practices and ambition to change the attitudes South Africans have toward domestic workers. It now serves more than 10,000 monthly users across four South African cities through a network of about 1,500 workers.
SweepSouth have employees known as Sweep Stars who are earning up to R8000 a month on the platform, compared to South Africa's minimum wage for domestic workers of about R1600 a month in rural areas and urban areas about R2600 a month.
SweepSouth was launched on 1 June 2014, by co-founders Aisha Pandor (CEO) and Alen Ribic (CTO), after identifying a gap in the market based on the challenges they faced trying to find a cleaning service for their own home.
As working professionals in Cape Town, they needed someone to help manage their home while their regular house cleaner was away. Their attempts to find a suitable replacement became futile. It was at that point that the couple conceived the idea of SweepSouth. Rather than establishing competition to the longstanding relationships between employers and employees, SweepSouth positioned itself as a temporary solution or a once-off service.
SweepSouth are alumni of the Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator.
SweepSouth conducts background checks and training in technology literacy, financial management and client service.
Roughly 70 percent of domestic workers in South Africa are a single mother and more than 83 percent are the sole breadwinners of their families, of that number 71 percent of SweepSouth’s employees were previously unemployed and a further 29 percent underemployed. SweepSouth domestic workers are offered dignified work and a fair wage while retaining their autonomy in being able to accept or decline jobs. By connecting their employees to jobs based in a similar location, SweepSouth reduces the crippling transport costs that low-income workers are faced within South Africa.
SweepSouth is an end to-end booking platform that offers secure transactions and SnapScan functionalities. With the development of the SweepSouth mobile app, the company has extended its customer pool, as well as many new employees. SweepSouth uses a similar star rating system to that of Uber and Airbnb. Employees and employers rate each other and provide feedback if they wish.
Each domestic worker meets with a representative of First National Bank (FNB) who advises each employee on their banking arrangements. FNB provides cost-effective banking solutions that are proportional to each employees’ earnings. Collaborating with one of the leading banks in South Africa was a strategic move that has had far-reaching outcomes.
Pandor and Ribić initially funded SweepSouth out of their own savings. As the startup has grown, they raised close to R7 million from Venture Capitalists (VC). Among their investors are FNB’s EdgeGrowth and Newton Partners. The funding has come from within Africa, which is part of SweepSouth’s successful trajectory.
SweepSouth won the SiMODiSA startup pitching prize and later became the first South African startup to be accepted into the 500 References Startups accelerator based in Silicon Valley. As a result of these prestigious accolades, Pandor and Ribić were given the opportunity to spend four months in San Francisco participating in the accelerator.
On 20 June 2019, Naspers Foundry, invested R30m in SweepSouth. SweepSouth said it has grown 26 percent since Naspers Foundry’s investment.
Awards and Recognition
In 2018, SweepSouth received the award of Best Small Company from the SAVCA Industry Award.
In 2014, SweepSouth was awarded first prize in the SiMODiSA Startup SA Pitching Competition.
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