Editor: Ryan Peter
SweepSouth is South Africa’s first end-to-end booking platform for home cleaning services. Started in 2009 by Aisha Pandor and her husband Alen Ribić, the online platform and mobile app allows customers to book ad hoc cleaning services. Each booking is customised to the individual requirements of the customer. The platform connects the estimated 1.2 million registered domestic workers to potential work and employers.
SweepSouth is one of the fastest-growing tech start-ups in South Africa. It has been praised for its ethical business practices and ambition to change the attitudes South Africans have toward domestic workers.
Co-founders Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribić launched SweepSouth after identifying a gap in the market based on 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.
Roughly 70% of domestic workers in South Africa are single mother and more than 83% are the sole breadwinners of their families, of that number 71% of SweepSouth’s employees were previously unemployed and a further 29% 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 on a similar location, SweepSouth have reduced the crippling transport costs that low-income workers are faced with in South Africa.
SweepSouth established itself through its online platform and quickly developed an app which has held their relevancy in the market. They currently operate in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
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 have extended their 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 are 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 R 7-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.