Cleaner

Singapore-based home and office cleaning services firm ProperHands announced today that it has raised S$250,000 (US$177,000) from Singapore-based Crystal Horse Investments and Tri5 Ventures.

Crystal Horse Investments focusses on providing angel investments and incubation services while Tri5 Ventures functions primarily as an accelerator to help startups attain Series A funding.

In an official statement, ProperHands said that it will use the funds to develop new technologies that address two key gaps in the industry: better customer experience and scale.

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Launched in December 2014 by Co-founders, Wayne Soh and Benjamin Koe, ProperHands assigns freelance cleaners to customers through intelligent and automated matching.

Automation the key to success

Soh, who is also ProperHands’ CEO, said that the idea came to him while operating a small hostel outside National University of Singapore (which he continues to do).

“Every time I engage a service provider, there are usually some problems. For example, the service provider will either not turn up, arrive late, overcharge, or simple render bad service. So Koe and I wondered whether we can use technology to solve these problems and improve the quality of service providers. We started with cleaning because it’s the easiest to standardise and is something that is done regularly,” shared Soh.

He believes that this automation service will be a key advantage over other traditional cleaning companies that are operationally intensive.

“The only way to scale efficiently is to build our business around seamless automation,” Soh said.

“Our vision is for customers to be able to book or change a cleaning job and have scheduling, utilisation planning, resource optimisation, payment, allocation, backups, personnel matching, confirmations, updates, reminders and all other operational tasks completely automated with no human intervention,” he added.

ProperHands also claims to serve a social need — “creating jobs with flexibility and above average wage for the less privileged and elderly who tend to take up cleaning jobs in most affluent societies.”

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According to its website, the company has strict vetting processes to ensure that workers are legally allowed to work in Singapore. Currently only cleaners who are Singapore citizens and permanent residents are allowed to sign up on its platform. They are also interviewed beforehand and tested on their expertise on cleaning equipment and tools.

Challenges ahead

There are several hurdles ProperHands will have to overcome if it wishes to succeed.

“Right now one of the bottleneck of this service is that most of the cleaners are not tech-savvy, so we need to build features/apps such that are user-friendly enough for them to use it themselves. This ensures a fully-automated flow where we can then focus more on growing our base of cleaners and customers. We are also looking at features that improves matching,” said the CEO.

There are also competitors in the space such as Helpling , Sendhelper and Fuss.sg.

“We hope to differentiate ourselves not only through good customer relations, and high standard of cleaning services, but also by extending our services to offices, which we believe, most of our competitors are not doing,” he added.