4:47 - How the idea for Bat Maid started in a New York apartment
6:45 - The importance of social responsibility in business
17:15 - Profitability in a people business
24:22 - Building a strong brand in Switzerland’s different regions
36:48 - Journey of finding investment
Andreas Schollin-Borg always knew he wanted to become an entrepreneur. At the age of 16 he began a small business selling caps, and the bug bit. Due to his father’s insistence, he obtained a finance and ship trading degree from HEC Lausanne and a Master's from the University of Geneva, and even went on to study at NYU, all the while trying out different entrepreneurial ideas in his mind — fast forward to the present, he is the co-founder of Batmaid, and the CEO of Batgroup, the parent company of Batmaid, Batwork, and Batsoft.
Back in 2014, he initially wanted to start a shoe business while in New York and was actively studying this industry. While doing this, his apartment was a mess and difficult to work in, so he found a locally-based app to book a housekeeper to do some cleaning. It was such a good experience, and he loved the idea so much that he decided to take it back to Switzerland with him.
However, he knew he would need support and partnership, and found it one night at a beer pong tournament where he met his future partner, Eric Laudet. They have only grown from there: Batmaid has become the Batgroup, including Batmaid, Batwork, and Batsoft, which all combat different areas of the cleaning business, and it has expanded to other regions of Switzerland and 8 countries around Europe. Initially, it was challenging to convince investors to give capital to the company because people-based businesses are often seen as unreliable, but Andreas proved there was a demand for this service, and with some significant branding initiatives, a partnership with Onet (one of the biggest facility management companies in Europe) and some damn good tech, investors became convinced.
An essential part of their business is the social mission of combating the black market and giving their staff rights, legal agency, and financial and emotional support. Having a constant fear of going to work in the case that somebody asks for a social security number, or simply not getting a retirement package, is a reality for many of the cleaning staff, and it is Batmaid's goal to improve that experience, to be a safe environment fueled by trust between the employer, the employee and the client.
For the next 12 months, Andreas is taking a brief pause on growth and focusing on profitability, while also working towards improving their service. He would love Batmaid to be something that is accessible to everybody in any part of Switzerland, and for it to be the number one tech-based cleaning company in the world.
“Bringing the supplier and user together, it’s the chicken and egg problem – you need the supply before the demand, because if you have no supply, demand will never come.”
“When you’re in a startup or scaleup, the problems don’t get simpler, they just get more complex.”