Contxto – There’s a marketplace for everything nowadays. Uber for getting a lift home, Rappi for grabbing some grub, and now, for odd-jobs around the house, there’s Venezuelan Apetoi.

This startup, through its app, connects users with electricians, plumbers, locksmiths, carpenters, or general handyperson, to accomplish a task.

“I know a guy”

In Latin America, it’s extremely common for repair people to be given jobs on a word of mouth-basis. Meaning, everyone “knows a guy.”

This system arises from the fact that many people feel insecure about letting a stranger into their home. They’re also mistrustful that the job will be done right. As a result, referrals and informality rule supreme.

Who enters your home

Given these circumstances, Venezuelan entrepreneur Armando Goncalves launched Apetoi. Through its application, a user can find a reliable worker to carry out a job related to repairs and fixings. The system locates the nearest registered handyperson to assign them the task. 

Like other startups, Apetoi is pushing for cash-free transactions, as payment from user to service provider is completed via bank transfer. Meanwhile, Apetoi charges a fee for every service.

To reassure users that the stranger they’re letting into their home is reliable, Apetoi carries out screenings to check for misconduct as well as a person’s criminal record.

And on the flipside, Apetoi also makes sure users behave civilly and that it’s safe for the worker to enter the location. 

The startup began operations in Venezuela in 2016. But in 2019, it expanded to Mexico City. As for future plans, Apetoi plans to expand into more cities throughout Mexico. Likewise, it wants to provide gift cards for the various services a handyperson can procure.

Why Mexico?

Goncalves expanded to this country because of the high number of users with smartphones and app savviness.

“I like to have all these opportunities,” said the Founder, “and I’m convinced that the Mexican market is very ready and quite familiar with these types of applications. [For which] it’s been easier [for the general population] to understand how the app works.”

But apparently it wasn’t without a few hiccups, as Goncalves reported, Apetoi had to adapt its app for Mexican users. 

“We adapted to the Mexican market by making various changes to our security policy,” explained Goncalves in correspondence with Contxto, “and we made background checks given requirements are higher in Mexico in that regard.”

Another necessary adjustment was adapting the model in a business to business (B2B) direction because on-boarding customers was easier.

However, that’s just how entering a new market usually works.