#Asia Startup in Spotlight: Miso helps South Koreans find home cleaners

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Victor Ching, CEO of Korea-based home cleaning service Miso, tells e27 about the perfect cleaning session

Victor Ching, CEO, Miso

Victor Ching, CEO, Miso

In South Korea, O2O is definitely the buzzword of the year. O2O refers to services that allow consumers to go online to find goods offline. One example would be Miso, an online company that helps people get matched to home cleaners.

Here we speak to Victor Ching, CEO, Miso, to understand more about the company, and where it’s headed.

Can you tell me more about your business?

We started the company in early August. Basically, it’s a service that lets you book a home-cleaning service via our website. By the end of this month, we’ll have mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Also Read: India’s Wassup acquires on-demand laundry company Chamak

You go online, you choose a date and time where you’d like a home-cleaning service. We operate a base set of standard services but if you need any other services like cleaning your refrigerator or any thing that takes a lot of time and a lot of hard labour, then you can request that.

What we’ll do is we’ll go through our pool of cleaners and then, match someone who can work at that time, date and location that you requested.

How many cleaners do you have on your platform?

More than 160 people have actually worked via our service, that means at least one job and earned revenue.

How many employees are there?

Officially, five, right now. We have three set to start on December 21, and we have offers out to two more people.

A few of the Miso team

A few of the Miso team

Can you walk me through how much you charge for each cleaning session?

It’s a standard fee of KRW10,000 (Around US$8.50) per hour for the cleaner. It’s about market rate – I think it’s on the low end of the market rate.

I think you see a lot of services going a bit higher than that. I think it’s about market rate for 60 per cent of the companies out there. The base service is about four hours, so KRW40,000 (Around US$34) to the cleaner and then KRW5,000 (US$4.50) to our company for the fees.

How do you generate revenue?

Basically through commissions. Out of every cleaning, we earn a commission fee – it averages between KRW5,000 to something higher, depending on the customer. I think from from our basic service, it’s about KRW5,000.

If I have special requests, do I pay the same amount as others?

It’s by hours. If you have a bigger apartment, then we ask you to purchase more hours. Or if you do a few extra services, like cleaning the insides of refrigerators – that tends to be difficult work, because you have to take all the food out and it’s very time intensive, so we ask customers to tack on an extra hour.

Every customer wants something different, right? Some people want people to arrange the closet, but clean the insides of the closet? It’s not as simple.

Do you promise your cleaners a minimum number of hours of work?

Well, we don’t have a set guideline for the number of hours we’re going to give somebody, because every person is different.

Some people have existing jobs and want extra work. But we’ve had some people contact us and say, “If I quit my other job, will you be able to fill my schedule up with 40 hours a week?” And in those cases, we tell them, yes, that we have enough work for you.

Has Miso received external investment? 

We closed an angel round in October. We’re looking to raise another round in February. It’ll either be seed or Series A. It depends. We’re looking at raising at least a million dollars.

I think, right now the big debate is: Do we just take a million dollars in seed and try to grow further from there, then do a big Series A, or do something in the two to three million dollars range right now and then use that? We’re still going through the scenarios.

Where do you see Miso in the next six months?

It’s basically really to create saturation in this particular market in Seoul, but also in Incheon and Gyeongi-do. And I think, with that, we don’t offer much innovation in the market right now.

I think our big innovation is our review system because it’s something that other companies don’t really implement at the moment. But we feel that competition can easily implement something like that.

Our business is very much like Uber’s, in that you benefit by economics of scale. Uber has their concept of the perfect ride. The perfect ride is one where the driver makes more money, but the customer pays less.

It seems like it’s not possible but we’ve found that it is. What we’re trying to do is if you develop a scale of orders in a particular region, then these cleaners have to travel less from job to job.

Also Read: WaHome scores US$1M in seed funding to clean more houses in Korea

Ultimately, travel is time, which is money. What happens when these cleaners can travel less from job to job is that they can work shorter jobs, two-hour jobs or even three-hour jobs — something that they’re not willing to do right now. Because nobody wants to travel one hour to work a two-hour job.

But if you can offer three jobs in the same building, then you can do a two-hour job, maybe the customer pays KRW30,000 (Around US$25.48), so they’re ultimately paying less but the cleaner makes more per hour.

What we see is that you can offer more innovative services, more value to the customers and the cleaners themselves.

The post Startup in Spotlight: Miso helps South Koreans find home cleaners appeared first on e27.

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