An Ally for Domestic WorkersWed, 02/21/2018 - 09:29
Almost 2.4 million people in Mexico work as domestic paid labor but only 2.3 percent have access to Social Security services, according to the 2016 National Survey on Education and Employment. A new market platform is hoping to make a positive dent in those numbers.
Aliada, founded by Ana Orvañanos and Rodolfo Corcuera, is a marketplace that connects users with aliadas, the Spanish term for the women and men who provide house-cleaning services. The platform provides them with social security benefits. “Aliada generates an impact on the people who use the platform, whether it is someone looking for cleaning services or someone offering them, which is the reason the company was created,” says Orvañanos.
The platform follows a simple principle: if you need cleaning services, you use the platform to request an aliada. Each has a profile accompanied by comments and reviews from other users while aliadas can also provide reviews of users. A basic price is set for services but Orvañanos says that aliadas with good profiles can charge more for their services. Aliadas can also reject offers that are far from their delimited work area or from users having bad reviews from other aliadas. Two years after it was founded, Aliada has 1,200 affiliated women and men. Orvañanos is confident the platform will reach more people. “The important thing is being able to generate value for these men and women.”
As any other marketplace, the platform connects supply with demand. “Our platform generates no added value for users if there are not enough aliadas in the most needed zones. It also generates no added value for aliadas if people do not require their services,” says Orvañanos. For Aliada’s founders, the most pressing challenge has been finding the right balance between demand and supply. But Orvañanos explains that being a technology company gives them an advantage. “We have the KPIs needed to determine how we should balance the components of the platform to attain a good balance.”
An important differentiator for aliadas is related to the additional income they receive and social security services.
“By becoming part of Aliada, women can increase their income up to three times,” Orvañanos says. Nevertheless, more money and benefits imply more responsibilities. “Most of these women view the bank and SAT as the enemy,” adds Orvañanos. In a country where fewer than three in every 100 domestic workers pay taxes and have access to social security services, Aliada offers formality and protection in a sector that is usually neglected by public policies.
Still, like any company, it must also yield a benefit for its investors. “We generate a positive impact on our users’ lives but if we do not provide a good service with good results no one is going to invest in the platform, regardless of how social we are or how many problems we are solving.” For Orvañanos, the best strategy a company can implement is to concentrate on growing the business and generating value for investors. Such is the value investors see that the online platform just closed its second investment round. Led by Promotora Social México and its initial investors VARIV Capital, Capital Invent and Dila Capital, as well as new investors, such as Grupo Gentera, Aliada is entering a new phase that will allow it to continue experiencing exponential growth.
First, however, the company must improve the platform. “The platform is our main product,” says Orvañanos. “The better we can solve the needs of the marketplace the more growth we will experience."