SweepSouth, a company specialising in on-demand home cleaning services on the African continent, has that announced it has secured R10m in new funding.
The funding comes from the Vumela Fund, as well as from its existing investor, Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen’s firm, Newtown Partners. The Vumela Fund is capitalised by the First Rand Group and the Jobs Fund and managed by FNB in an alliance relationship with Edge Growth.
SweepSouth had an impressive 2015, coming off of a winning pitch at the SiMODiSA Startup SA conference in October 2014. This was followed by an April 2015 Series Seed funding round from a team of top tech investors, led by Vinny Lingham and Llew Claasen’s firm Newtown Partners and including Pule Taukobong’s Africa Angels Network (AAN) and Polo Leteka Radebe’s Identity Development Fund (IDF). The startup finished the year as the first South African startup selected to participate in the 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley, between July and November 2015.
“The start of 2016 suggests a year that will be no less exciting for us,” says Aisha R. Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth. “With this major new cash injection from the Vumela Fund, we can further expand our rapidly growing national footprint.”
SweepSouth was founded on the belief that the home cleaning industry needed modernisation through technology as well as a change in mindset towards the belief that everyone deserves access to dignified work at decent pay. “As we expand we can offer so many more work opportunities,” says Pandor. SweepSouth has created thousands of job opportunities in the last few months for women, the vast majority of whom were unemployed, resulting in over 100 000 hours of cleaning being completed over this time.
“Edge Growth is an experienced and respected investor who shares our passion for job creation and social transformation. We’ve loved interacting with their team and are excited about utilising this investment to continue our rapid growth and create sustainable work for thousands of cleaners in the next year” said Pandor.
Speaking about the deal, lead investor Janice Johnston of Edge Growth says, “We think SweepSouth is one of the leading tech startups in SA. The on-demand economy is a huge growth area because a lot of consumers’ needs can be far better served with tech-enabled, on-demand services. Uber is a great example of such innovation and we think SweepSouth is the Uber of cleaning in SA. The exciting job creation opportunities which the SweepSouth platform provides professional cleaners, is an important attribute of the investment for the Vumela Fund. SweepSouth has one of the most dynamic and creative teams in the startup space and we think they’ll take on-demand service adoption to another level in SA.”
Pandor has a PhD in Genetics and is a former management consultant with experience in HR management, strategy and operations. Alen Ribic, SweepSouth’s co-founder and CTO has over a decade of experience in software engineering, particularly in developing highly scalable systems.
Welcome to world of 2099
The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.
Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.
This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.
Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.
As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.
“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”
The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.
“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”
Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
Street art goes electric
Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.
The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.
The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.
D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.
D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.
“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”
As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.
Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”
Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”