UAE's JUSTMOP on Future Vision, Scaling Challenges & More

Justmop, is an online on-demand home cleaning services startup looking to capitalise on the GCC's $2.5 billion home cleaning industry. Ali Cagatay Ozcan and Kerem Kuyucu, Co-Founders of Justmop, outline what they believe are the challenges the startup faces regarding scaling, how Justmop plans to use its most recently generated funding and more in an interview with MAGNiTT:

1) Tell us briefly about Justmop. In layman’s terms, how exactly does it work?
Justmop.com is an app and an online platform that connects people looking for cleaning services with well-trained, top-rated cleaning service providers based on smart matching algorithms. Justmop has a sharp focus on quality. We have a 5-layer approach to create the best cleaning experience for our users:
1) Technology: We enable our cleaning crew members technologically by providing them with an app to oversee the service delivery.
2) Training: We train our cleaning crew members in state-of-the-art training centers by our quality experts
3) Uniform: We dress our cleaning crew members in neat Justmop uniform
4) Cleaning Materials: We have partnered up with Henkel to provide our cleaning crew members with superior cleaning material kits to give our customers the premium experience they deserve.
5) Incentive Program: We incentivize our cleaning crew members with our bonus program; it gives them the opportunity to make up to 25% of their base salary. They deserve to be rewarded for their hard work.

2) What’s your big-picture vision for the future?
We are working very hard towards transforming the home services industry into a more digital future. We focus on simplifying the lives of our users by providing them with a seamless cleaning experience and improving the lives of our service providers by giving them employment opportunities. We are at a stage where we help hundreds of thousands of people have clean and healthy homes and better futures through our platform. Next, we want to scale this number to millions, which is possible through scaling with quality.

3) What were you looking for from your investors, beyond capital?
Our investors are also our partners, and the most important support point we look for is their trust in our execution power. Once we mutually build that trust, the relationship becomes a long-lasting one with a lot of upsides. When it comes to more tangible expectations, we look for learnings from similar industries, introductions to potential partners/investors and mentorship on first time experiences we might face.

 
4) What’s something or someone that really helped you fundraising?
In this round specifically, we were fortunate to have successful entrepreneurs and investors who knew us well and believed in our product. Having conviction in us; our existing stakeholders have introduced us to potential investors which has made the process of fundraising a lot smoother by saving us a lot of time and speeding up the process by a mile.


5) What are your biggest challenges to scale?
We love challenges as we always see them as opportunities to help us become better versions of ourselves. One of the most challenging parts of scaling is moving fast and precisely. First things first, let’s talk about attracting the right talent. It is one of the vital parts of us getting to the next level of execution. The dilemma here is not about finding the right person but finding the right person in a timely manner within the budget you set.

Secondly, as we are now generating millions of USD worth of monthly revenue, a slight delay might be costlier than it used to be. We have to act fast at everything we do. Our latest fundraising round is a good example. We got our infrastructure ready for scaling the company and we needed an investment round to fuel growth. It took us 3 months to close the round and another 3 months to finalize the paperwork.

Last but not least, what challenges us on the way to build the future of Justmop is to stay sharply focused on what really matters while the external conditions change almost every day. It is crucial to keep executing as you have planned without letting any distractions set you away from your goals.

6) How do you plan to use this investment?
The more we grow, the more we learn. We have never been more confident in what we do. We are on the way become the super-app for everything regarding cleaning. We have 3 pillars we will focus on to achieve this goal: i) scaling with quality, ii) proving our presence in the KSA market, iii) expanding into different verticals. Having these 3 pillars at the core pf our strategy, we are investing in talent and technology to help us solve more complex problems. We will enhance our quality approach by launching a state-of-the-art training center in the UAE. We will aggressively invest in the Kingdom to create another success story. Lastly, we will be partnering with the best operators in their fields to offer a wider range of services to the Justmop users.

7) What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in cleaning-tech space right now (globally)?
We believe we are in the exciting era of the service economy as there is a huge opportunity. If we compare the consumer habits in the way people buy goods to the way they consume services, there is a huge gap as buying goods has been disrupted by the likes of Amazon and Alibaba. The service economy is currently lagging behind. Statistically speaking, services make up 69% of overall consumer spending, however 7% of the services purchases are digital. There are many angles to look for the reasons, however Li Jin and Andrew Chen summarizes them very well in the “What’s Next for Marketplace Startups”: i) services are complex and diverse, ii) perception of quality’s is subjective, and iii) real-world interactions are at the heart of the service delivery which makes it hard to be transformed to online. We believe that these challenges will be mitigated with the online platforms owning the full value chain starting from the booking until delivery of services instead of merely facilitating the service discovery. We are evolving towards this approach as well and it is very exciting to see this transformation wave happen before or eyes. We are working very hard towards transforming the home services industry into a more digital future.

8) What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
It is all about execution. Founders have to have a make it happen attitude. Ideas are inspiring but what is going to make the change is the implementation. Take action and scale up the successes and kill the failures. Secondly, what you are going through is most probably not new. Other fellow entrepreneurs have probably done them, been there. Learn from them; never try to reinvent the wheel. Spare some time, find relevant startups, founders and read about them. All you have to do is not to fall into the same pitfalls. Last but not least hire smarter and tougher people than yourself. They will lift you up, get your back and help you on the way to success.