After acquiring Kuwaiti food delivery service Talabat in February, Rocket Internet is back in the Middle East, as one of its start-ups, Helpling, opened up offices in Dubai.
Although Helpling has been operating in the United Arab Emirates since January, they officially announced their entry into Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Australia this week. The German company, dubbed an "Uber for cleaners," currently operates in 12 countries.
"These markets are very service orientated, with a history of home services. They also have a very well-developed mobile consumer culture but the home services industry has, thus far, not kept up or integrated the advantages that digitization brings along. We are here to fill this gap," Benedikt Franke, co-founder of Helpling, said in a statement.
Although Helpling usually works only with freelance cleaners, they took special market considerations in Dubai, working only with outside agencies that employ Filipino cleaners.
Helpling Middle East co-founder Manar Alkassa explains to The National that the service would help reduce illegal employment of cleaning staff, saying that:
"We want to sort out this mess in the market,” Alkassar said. “There are Dh50,000 to Dh100,000 fines for the people who employ illegal cleaners. And we want to help to bring this business into legality.”
Cleaning services are already widespread in Dubai, but Helpling believes that it can help digitize the economy, boasting that users can book a cleaner in 60 seconds via mobile.
It is yet to be determined if this service will take off, but Rocket Internet's purchasing-happy reputation proceeds them, as Helping acquired a local cleaning start-up Spickify in Singapore only a few weeks after opening up shop. Can we expect the same for Dubai? Entrepreneurs can only hope.