South African Online Cleaning Platform Raises $3.3M, 1st Investor Exits With 10-Fold Returns

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
online cleaning platform
With South Africa’s unemployment rate at 29 percent, an online cleaning platform has created almost 15,000 jobs by connecting users with domestic cleaners. Aisha Pandor (middle), founder of South African on-demand cleaning platform SweepSouth, with some of her staff. Photo supplied by SweepSouth

In a country where unemployment recently reached 29 percent, a South African online cleaning platform says it has created almost 15,000 jobs by connecting users with domestic cleaners.

Investors are buying in. Cape Town-based startup SweepSouth has secured a new $3.3 million round of venture funding, according to Gadget.

This is in addition to the $2.4 million SweepSouth raised in June through Naspers, the South African consumer tech giant and investor.

In June, SweepSouth became the first recipient of Naspers’ newly launched $100 million venture capital fund

SweepSouth was the first-ever African company accepted into the 500 Startups accelerator program in Silicon Valley.   

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The $3.3 million investment includes $1 million from a new investor — the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and organizations that create lasting social change.

Online cleaning platform creating thousands of jobs

SweepSouth has contributed to social change by using tech to create job opportunities for people in four South African cities. With an unemployment rate that recently increased to 29 percent, South Africa is in dire need of more job creation.

SweepSouth claims to have used its technology to provide flexible, dignified work opportunities with decent pay for almost 15,000 people. Of those people, 71 percent were previously unemployed and 29 percent were underemployed.

The home-and-office cleaning firm expects to use the new funding to expand in South Africa while increasing employment opportunities through a new platform.

“In addition to expanding the markets we operate in, in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, we are also looking forward to a formal announcement regarding our new platform, SweepSouth Connect, which offers services like handymen, plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, carpet cleaners, and nannies,” said co-founder and CEO Aisha Pandor.

Investors include Johannesburg-based international retail solutions company Smollan Group, entrepreneur-focused investment fund Vumela, and pan-African venture firm CRE Venture Capital, who participated in the $3.3 million funding round alongside Cape Town-based South African startup-focused fund, Naspers Foundry.

South African musician and venture capitalist Black Coffee also took part in the investment.

SweepSouth was founded by Cape Town-based couple Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic in 2014. They were inspired to establish the startup when they struggled to find someone to clean their apartment, BusinessInsider reports.

The $3.3 million investment in SweepSouth brings the total funding raised by the company since it launched to $6 million, according to Crunchbase.

The latest funding round also saw initial investors Newtown Partners, owned by South African venture capitalists Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen, exiting SweepSouth with a more than a 10-fold return on their original investment, IOL reports.

Newtown Partners was a lead investor in an early $600,000 funding round for SweepSouth.

Pandor thanked the VC firm for its contribution to her company.

“Newtown Partners was our very first investor and as a fund founded by entrepreneurs themselves, lent a lot of insight that helped us to achieve the growth we have and avoid a lot of mistakes common to first-time founders,” said Pandor.