SweepSouth, a South African online cleaning startup has raised funding from Futuregrowth, to aid in its expansion.
SweepSouth, launched in 2014 in South Africa as an online platform for booking cleaning services, has expanded its offering from its personalised home cleaning roots to gardening and pool cleaning, heavy lifting, fixing and maintenance and, most recently, commercial sanitation.
With operations in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban in South Africa, SweepSouth is expanding its disruptive online platform for booking, managing and paying for home cleaning, and now a variety of other services to Kenya, its second country so far.
“SweepSouth is an early-stage business disruptor that, instead of solving a Silicon Valley problem, is solving South African-specific problems. The company has taken a large segment of the informal sector, which is one of the biggest employers in South Africa, and formalised it, giving people protection and security in their working environments,” said Amrish Narrandes, Head: Unlisted Equity Transactions at Futuregrowth.
According to Narrandes, SweepSouth has a large addressable market in the informal sector, it is incredibly disruptive, it is having a positive social impact on the economy and the management team has proven credentials in building the company to where it is now, as well as engaging in ongoing innovation.
The business has expanded the scope of its services to the point where it now offers its clients access to a comprehensive suite of personal services. It has also pivoted its service offering into commercial sanitisation, with plans for fixing and maintenance giving it diverse sources of revenue and avenues for future growth.
The social impact credentials of the company are impeccable, says Narrandes. “SweepSouth has played a material role in empowering previously vulnerable informal workers by giving them a voice and the ability to control their destiny because they have flexibility and control over their own time.”
Futuregrowth’s latest investment in SweepSouth adds to the Fund’s growing portfolio of other early-stage investments. Earlier this year the Fund invested in Lifecheq, a digitised private wealth management business. In late 2018, the asset manager made another venture capital investment in Yoco, the innovative technology-driven point-of-sale payments provider.
These investments put the Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund in a strong position to benefit from the significant growth potential of these entrepreneurial, early-stage investments – while relying on its core established investments to provide the security and consistency of returns needed to balance out the risk-return profile of the Fund.
Says Aisha Pandor, co-founder and CEO of SweepSouth, “We are uplifted each time we see our SweepStars referred to in this way, as it represents how a positive idea can take shape and can change the negative language that has been so deeply entrenched.”
SweepSouth provides dignified work opportunities for thousands of SweepStars, 71% of whom were previously unemployed and 29% of whom were underemployed. A significant 84% of SweepStars are primary breadwinners at home, making the income they earn through the platform vital in enabling them to support their families.
“SweepStars can dictate where and when they would like to work, earn up to 80% of the booking fee (plus tips), and learn to use technology to unlock the power of a device like a smartphone so that it becomes a tool that provides access to work,” said Pandor.