In May 2017, George Karimi was a stressed man. All his laundry was dirty, the house was in a shambolic state and to make it worse, he could not get hold of any person to do the cleaning.
Mr Karimi decided to team up with his wife Winnie Njeri to establish SwiftAide, an app that connects clients to service providers, using Sh1 million that they had in savings.
“We were like wouldn’t it be great if someone would go to their phone and request for a cleaner just the way we request for cabs? This is what pushed us to establish SwiftAide. We basically saw a gap to fill in the market,” says the 30-year-old Electrical Engineering graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
Mr Karimi says SwiftAide is a two-sided marketplace that connects clients with ‘Aides,’ a network of pre-approved and background checked individuals, who have the time and skills to complete listed tasks.
The app enables people to outsource small jobs and tasks to others in their locality. It has several categories of aides from messengers to carpenters; food, drink and cooking gas deliverers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and nannies — tapping into the opportunities that exist in the informal sector.
“Security is our key feature. All aides must upload their identification documents and are thoroughly vetted by our team before they can be allowed to perform a task,” Mr Karimi says.
SwiftAide also has a referral programme where people earn some cash when they refer other people to sign up.
To date, SwiftAide has 200 aides registered on the app and about 500 clients.
The firm also employs five young graduates.
Mr Karimi projects to make over Sh1 million in annual revenue in the next financial year.
Clients can pay directly from the app, which has a wallet connected to local mobile money accounts.
The app is free on the Google Play store. “It wasn’t easy at the start. The initial cost of setting up the business was about Sh250,000, money that we did didn’t have,” he says.
Secondly, getting the right people to help them develop the app was not easy. And to make matters worse, they charged over Sh350,000.
However, all those hurdles did not stop them from achieve their dream.