Singapore-based home services app Helpp Technologies has raised $ 1.1 million in its first SAFE investment round. The round was backed by US-based E Planet Global, You Ventures’ chairman Shahyan Merchant, energy company Engie Saudi Arabia’s CEO Turki Al Shehri, J Holding Pakistan and other leading high net worth and business executives from USA, UK and Saudi Arabia.
Helpp is a for-profit social impact venture that provides on demand services in four main verticals, including at home salon, laundry, paint and air conditioning services in two major Pakistani cities. The initially bootstrapped startup also operates a business vertical, which caters to big box chains and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The company was founded in 2021 by Mustafa Iqbal, a former investment banker and stock market enthusiast. In conversation with Profit, Iqbal said, “Growing up in Karachi, one of the main issues I realised households faced was finding good and safe home services. I still remember hearing my mother complaining about these things. Another problem I identified was people’s unwillingness to work with blue-collar workers. It seemed like a problem everyone was scared to tackle. So, we decided to take on this challenge.”
Even though it is domiciled in Singapore, Helpp has zeroed its focus on the Pakistani market for now. Pakistan’s home services, despite being a multibillion-dollar industry, remains serviced by micro-offline players and in the absence of standardised services and pricing, customer satisfaction in the segment also remains low. According to Iqbal, the female-centric salon at home services offered by Helpp is the company’s most prominent and successful venture. They have serviced over 20,000 orders in the last two and a half years and empowered freelance salon workers through the venture.
With the ideology that making a social impact, along with making profits is possible, Helpp is committed to grow and use technology to solve daily household problems. “With the objective of building a budget brand, a core part of our business, especially in the woman-led salon vertical, is to empower individuals and small businesses by giving them the platform to elevate their incomes. The increase in salon workers’ income after partnering with Helpp has been almost 5x,” said Iqbal.
Iqbal told Profit that salon workers make Rs 20,000 to Rs 22,000 on average, and around Rs 30,000 if they freelance. Helpp has enabled some of its partners to start making over Rs 100,000 through their platform, who now approach the founder for investment and financial management advice for their new income. “Some of our partners have started hiring their husbands to drive them to appointments, which we call ‘Hire your husband scheme’ as a joke. So, in some cases it has become a family unit that works together instead of the salon workers using rickshaws and buses to move around, ” Iqbal shared.
The financial independence, according to Iqbal has resulted in some very inspiring success stories, whereby women partnering with Helpp have a newfound power dynamics that allow them greater authority and financial autonomy. “They are participating in financial pooling committees, getting health insurance and even finding avenues for investment,” said Iqbal.
According to the founder, the Business to Business to Customer (B2B2C) startup aligns with the “United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number 5, 8 and 10,” contributing towards its targets for 2030. Iqbal also added, “The capital raised will be utilised for customer acquisition, as well as developing the tech stack of Helpp.”