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R10m for “Uber of cleaning”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

Use the page links below to read about Tan’s vision of 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

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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