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Startups

Malaysia's Maideasy eyes fundraising to expand operations

Cleaning services startup seeks 'considerable amount' in series B round

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia-based cleaning services startup Maideasy is seeking to raise a "considerable amount" for its series B funding round, according to its co-founder Meriza Mustapha.

In a conversation with DealStreetAsia, Meriza said Maideasy was looking to use the fresh capital to expand its services across Malaysia, starting with the southern state of Johor, as well as to beef up the startup's marketing efforts. She declined to specify the amount they were looking to raise.

She hinted that Maideasy would also look to go beyond cleaning services by striking up partnerships to offer domestic services such as child and elderly care.

"We are looking for at least a nationwide expansion because right now we're in Klang Valley and small pockets in Seremban and Nilai. For the past four years we've been stabilizing our supply, which is a big challenge for us.

"We figured that cleaning service providers are mostly temporary jobs. To date, we have trained about 4,000 Malaysians to be part of Maideasy -- most of them are part-timers and a small percentage of them stayed on and view this as a stable job," she said.

Founded in 2015 by Meriza and her husband Azrul Rahim, Maideasy allows homeowners to book part-time cleaners through its website and mobile app. The startup completed its series funding round A in 2015, led by Axiata Digital Innovation Fund. Although the amount raised was not disclosed, industry sources estimated it at about 1 million ringgit ($240,000).

According to Meriza, Maideasy has broken even operationally and will be headed to profitability within this financial year, adding that the startup does not subsidize the cleaning services provided to its customers.

"In the services industry, it's important to fairly compensate service providers. [Otherise] it's not going to work out. We adjust our services according to the various profiles of customers that we have so that we don't have to subsidize our services.

"We have sort of figured out the formula to ensure consistent supply [of cleaners to our customers]. We've also improved on customer retention and in the past three financial years we've been growing between 60 and 100 per cent in terms of revenue," she added.

Malaysia has several home services platforms including the likes of Kaodim and ServisHero. Both have raised bigger financing rounds, the most recent being Kaodim, which bagged $7 million in 2017.

The difference between Maideasy and other service providers platforms was its focus on supporting local workers by offering the best working practices, said Meriza.

"The problem with the cleaning industry is that foreigners are usually hired to be cleaners which causes an addiction to cheap labor. Health and safety regulations are also very loosely [adhered to]. So we tried to bring the best practices to the industry, hire locals and pay them a fair wage and ensure that they are equipped with safe and proper tools.

"This is what Maideasy stands for and I think over the years our customers know that when they book our services through our platform, they are supporting these best practices in the cleaning industry," she said.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore focused on corporate investment activity in Southeast Asia and India. Nikkei recently announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the company.

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