Homely, a cleaning services platform, announced it has recently acquired Aliada, a startup in the same sector.
The details of the operation have not been disclosed, except that Homely – which lists Toushka Capital among its investors – will absorb Aliada’s staff, whose technological strength brings a great competitive advantage.
It will also include in its operation the almost 200 people who found cleaning service jobs through the Aliada platform.
“Our main objective was to ensure that these 200 people were not affected by the business decision,” says Melina Cruz, CEO and co-founder of Homely. “It was an operation that came from the good will of both companies to achieve this acquisition.”
Aliada, co-founded in 2014 by Rodolfo Corcuera and Ana Orvañanos, positioned itself as an initial champion in its sector by trying to professionalize cleaning services, particularly in private residences. Even though Aliada was divided into two separate companies (the other being Tandem) and the co-founders moved onto other projects – Corcuera co-founded the fintech Higo – Aliada had continued to operate up until Homely’s acquisition.
Growing with Caution
Founded in 2015 by Cruz and her partner, Edgar Tello, Homely offers an on-demand platform of cleaning services, mainly targeted towards property management companies and proptech startups.
Casai, Flat and Sonder are among its current customers. Cruz reports that all personnel who work for Homely, regardless of whether they are directly hired by them or are third-party contractors, have social security. To guarantee this benefit, each final user of their platform pays a fee of $50 Mexican pesos (mxn) so that the keeper – a term Homely uses for its cleaners – has this access.
The technology that Homely gets from acquiring Aliada will allow it to reach a market of end consumers, something that it has not been able successfully despite its efforts.
Since its foundation, Homely has been dedicated to grow strategically. The company has raised a total of US$650 thousand in financed capital; an amount that, says Cruz, makes Homely an atypical company. “From the beginning, we have been determined not to raise money just for the sake of it, but in a strategic way,” the CEO explains.
Up until 2020, Homely’s focus had been on the end consumer. However, the pandemic forced the company to restructure and shift its focus towards sanitizing spaces. This allowed Cruz and Tello to continue operating and growing the company as the hospitality sector was transforming.
Turning into a sanitizing spaces business during the pandemic has allowed Homely to grow its average sales ticket 14x in less than a year. Digital nomads and remote work have begun to demand new cleaning services, explains Cruz, which explains the company’s new portfolio of clients.
An Industry that Needs to Become Professional
According to data from INEGI, about 4 million Mexicans work in a cleaning-related job, whether commercial or residential/domestic. Just over half, about 2.5 million, are registered as paid jobs.
Of the rest, most work in residential cleaning jobs without a contract. They are predominantly women (90%), and 35% of them earn less than the minimum wage.
And although commercial jobs are more likely to offer some kind of contract, 80% of them have informal practices. “There are certain companies that pay for overtime or extra shifts, but they have the bad practice of saying it is a productivity bonus,” says Cruz.
Precisely to help formalize this segment, she co-founded this cleaning service platform together with her partner, Edgar, who today serves as COO. Now that they have added Aliada to their operation, Homely has managed to professionalize more than 1,200 cleaners.
You might also be interested: Chilean proptech Houm raises $35M Series A