September 30, 2015

Moppi disrupts the cleaning business

Moppi’s main team members in their Helsinki office (from left to right): Oskari Räisänen, Steven Chavez, Matti Tiainen and Fredrik Engvall.
Moppi’s main team members in their Helsinki office (from left to right): Oskari Räisänen, Steven Chavez, Matti Tiainen and Fredrik Engvall.
Tim Linka

The cleaning business has not changed in decades. The Finnish startup Moppi has made it its mission to turn the conventional markets for home cleaning services upside down.

Last winter, Matti Tiainen wanted to start a new business. Just in what sector and where to begin? When he went to his former business partner Oskari Räisänen, the two friends quickly identified the cleaning business as a field that is in dire need of change. After several months of planning and product development, the company Moppi was born in June.

Moppi.com is an online platform that eases the entire process of home cleaning. Finding an appropriate cleaner, agreeing on a date and time and paying the bill take a mere two minutes.

“We wanted to create a market place for professional cleaners so that they can find customers, do the bookings and really focus on the cleaning,” Tiainen says. “As a cleaner you should be cleaning instead of running your own company where you have to do accounting, invoicing or customer acquisition. Our customers benefit from this as well.”

Cleaning in the 21st century

Moppi prepares for a fast international expansion from its office in downtown Helsinki.

Moppi prepares for a fast international expansion from its office in downtown Helsinki.

Tim Linka

The makers of Moppi found it surprising that nobody had yet lifted the cleaning business to 21st century standards, even though home cleaning services are frequently used and subsidised by governments in many countries.

“Our generation, the younger generation, is used to buying services and products from online market places,” Tiainen muses.

Much like other service platforms such as Uber, Moppi features a rating system with which the customers can express how happy they are with the services they bought. In case a customer is unhappy, the cleaner will clean again free of charge.

“It is all about how satisfied the customers are. There shouldn’t be bad experiences with cleaning services,” says Tiainen.

The company’s advantage is that with its platform it eliminates the need for the traditional middle management of a company that absorbs a considerable amount of resources. As a result, cleaners earn around 25 per cent more than their peers in a traditional cleaning company while the customers pay significantly less.

Moppi works within the existing legislative framework and controversies that have engulfed companies such as Uber are unlikely to occur. The company’s team conducts background checks on all cleaners to make sure they are professionals; an insurance up to one million euros is valid for every service booked through the platform. Furthermore, all taxes and insurance contributions are paid.

Ready for take-off

Operating only in Finland was never an option. The company’s ambitious plans aim at a brisk international expansion starting in the coming spring in Sweden, followed by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Currently the company is running a new seed funding round to buttress their expansion into these new markets. A joint project with Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, for further development of the platform and the services is also on the cards.

“We have two service and product launches around the beginning of next year. It will be something this industry has never seen before,” hints Tiainen.

The entrepreneurs speak favourably of the means available in Finland to scale up and expand internationally.

“There is nothing like Tekes in Sweden where I am from. In Sweden you will not get any funding if you are not part of a selected group,” says Fredrik Envall, CFO of Moppi.

“We do not have a large domestic market to pull anything big so everybody is going international,” Tiainen states. “I have done business internationally and in terms of government incentives and support to go international, there is no better system than ours,” he concludes.

35 cleaners are currently working for Moppi. By the end of next year, the company wants to increase that number to 250.

35 cleaners are currently working for Moppi. By the end of next year, the company wants to increase that number to 250.

Moppi.com

Text: Tim Linka

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