Tech start-up idea realised in Cape Town
ThatoyaonaMarumo and BernoPotgieter, co-founders of one of South Africa’s most successful tech start-ups, are living their dream.
Marumo and Potgieter grew up in Johannesburg and Durban, never imagining to one day live or operate a business in Cape Town.
The pair launched Domestly, an on-demand cleaning market place app that has revolutionalised the cleaning industry after quitting corporate jobs in 2014. The app connects busy people to trusted, certified cleaning professionals. By connecting the cleaning professionals customer feedback directly to homeowners, Domestly makes housekeeping more affordable and accessible to everyone. The cleaners set their own rates, offering customers a range of rates to choose from; thus providing them the control over their earning potential. It is the only on-demand cleaning app in South Africa that allows the customer access to view in-depth profiles of each cleaner. These profiles include ratings and reviews from other customers.
“Our story dates back to June 2014,” says Maruma, the company’s chief operating officer (COO). “Berno approached me with the idea. He was in Durban at the time working for a multinational FMCG and I was doing corporate in Joburg. We would have meet-ups in Durban to brainstorm ideas, strategise and work on a game plan. One of the things we knew was that we had to actually prove this concept and test it. Berno built the product platform, which was very standard, literally a two-pager website. We then got a couple of cleaners, plugged them into the platform and waited to see what would happen. The response was overwhelming. It literally got berserk and we got to a point where we could actually close the two-pager site down and build a proper platform.”
Off the back of the prototype, Marumo and Potgieter did extensive research and planning. “The big thing for us was funding,” says Potgieter, Domestly’s chief executive officer (CEO). “This was a big and bold vision and it required a lot of fuel behind it. Once we secured the funding, we both quit our jobs, packed our bags and moved to Cape Town to launch our dream. And we’ve never looked back. We’ve literally been growing from strength to strength from there.”
Domestly is headquartered in Cape Town and has since its launch opened a satellite office in Johannesburg. Marumo says plans are afoot to expand operations to Pretoria and Durban by 2017. The start-up was recently announced 2016 App of the Year by MTN and won the Best Consumer App award.
About their decision to be headquartered in Cape Town, Marumo says: “If you’re launching a tech start-up in Africa, this is the place to be. It is the most mature economy in terms of tech support, so to be part of that community and that hub and that wave was for very important for us. Funding was also a big agenda for us, and a lot of that capital is found here. Cape Town has the ecosystem, the community, the network. To tap into that was a big thing for us. We’ll expand our business to other parts of the country and continent, but we’ll never leave Cape Town.”
The added advantage, says Potgieter, is the large talent pool in the city. “Cape Town has good quality universities, so we have access to young skilled professionals who are energetic and innovative. And as a bonus, the city offers a whole host of services, it is well-run and one of the most beautiful cities to live, work and play.”