Making a clean sweep for success

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Making a clean sweep for success
Ali Cagatay Ozcan and Kerem Kuyucu, founders of Justmop.com along with their crewmembers.

Published: Mon 25 Sep 2017, 5:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Sep 2017, 10:33 PM

It all started with a dream back in 2011. Ali Cagatay Ozcan and Kerem Kuyucu, both professional engineers, in pursuit of their dreams met in Rocket Internet Turkey, which was later shut down in 2012. They took it as a sign from the universe instead of being heartbroken. So they decided to do something on their own. Soon after they moved to Dubai, one fine day when Ozcan was sharing his ordeal in finding a reliable house cleaning service, the idea of Justmop.com sparked in their mind.
"While he was sharing this experience of frustration, we had a 'Eureka!' moment. The pain point was clear and it was a personal one. People looking for a top-notch cleaning service in their first trial were not able to find one imminently. We then decided we would build an online marketplace where we provide our customers with five-star maid services," says Kuyucu, co-founder of Justmop.com.
Describing his entrepreneurial journey, Kuyucu says that he always focuses on the customers' demand and their need.
"We had a few customers that moved from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and they called us asking if it would be possible to keep using the platform. We launched Abu Dhabi operations within a few nights. Another example would be that we had many customers that wanted to have their sessions on Friday. When we entered the market, over 95 per cent of the companies were not working on Fridays and customers had a hard time booking a session if they needed help. We convinced a few cleaning company partners and now Friday is one of the best performing days for us. Both our customers and our partners are happy and that's what matters to us," he explains. "The main reason our business has grown at a rate of over 20 per cent month-on-month since inception in 2015," he adds.

When it comes to tangible differentiators, Kuyucu says: "We have mainly focused on two main areas: technology and execution. We are a technology company. We built a flexible and scaleable infrastructure for our technology that gives us a head start over any other competitor. We outsmart them. Second, our founding team is stellar. Our investors have been part of multimillion-dollar marketplace acquisitions. Ozcan and I managed three international startups in the region before starting up Justmop. We can out-execute any other company with our current team and know-how," he claims.
The start-up closed its seed round in April last year, led by Nevzat Aydin, founding CEO of Yemeksepeti in Turkey and two other Turkish venture capitalists. They are currently finalising their second round - Series A - of investment, that includes current investors and two more parties, of more than $1 million (Dh3.68 million). They have made over $6 million (Dh22 million) in total gross revenue so far.
Aydin says: "I try to invest in market leader companies with long term vision for market dominance and that's exactly what Justmop is trying to achieve. Ozcan and Kuyucu worked with me at Foodonclick.com and we created Middle East's leading online food delivery platform. When they reached out to me, I was excited with their determination and passion. On top of all, they also had the first traction supported by their skillsets."
George Dimopoulos, Partner at VentureFriends, says: "The Justmop team has achieved remarkable growth over the last two years and with the latest financing round is on track of scaling their operations to many other cities and countries till end of 2018 cementing its leading position in the market."
Kuyucu says that with the closure of second round Justmop has an exciting marketing agenda.
"Our mission now is to secure market leadership in our current markets and replicate Justmop's successful traction in different categories and other countries. This is only going to be possible with the best people. We are in talks with a select group of potential investors from the market that can give us leverage in the markets we are planning to launch," he adds.
"We are a tech company and as we are speaking our tech team is working their hearts off to give our users and partners a better experience using our platform. We are going to provide our partners with cutting edge logistics solutions to make their lives easier and increase the customer satisfaction by improving punctuality and visibility," Kuyucu claims.
"We have realised that our users enjoy the booking experience through our apps, so we are revamping our mobile applications to provide them with a seamless experience. When it comes to another common feedback we get is that people trust us with their homes and they want us to take care of more than home cleaning so our soft cleaning services will be officially launched soon. Soft cleaning includes sofa, mattress, carpet and curtain cleaning. Briefly, we can call it upholstery cleaning," he continues.
Talking about his expansion plans, Kuyucu says Justmop is now doing its due diligence analysis for other potential markets. "We have two more very exciting countries in the pipeline. We are in talks with very valuable potential partners in those countries and we are planning to expand Justmop regionally to be able to clean more homes and touch more lives," he says.
"When we entered the UAE market we started with a single cleaning company partner with 18 crew members. Now, that company has more than 60 crewmembers and we are working with hundreds of companies. We create jobs for people that need them and that's what keeps us awake at nights," Kuyucu recalls.
He says that as Justmop is planning an expansion, "to achieve our mission, we need the best people. Today's challenge is very beautiful. Most of our time is going to go into finding the right people to lift us up to the next level. Currently, we are meeting great minds from different backgrounds and always in hunting mode. It is definitely a fun challenge," he concludes.
- riaz@khaleejtimes.com

By Muhammad Riaz Usman
 Making It Work

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