Finding credible and need-based household and professional service providers is a difficult job in almost all around the world. Especially, in developing countries where internet is yet to become a parallel world, this is extra difficult Indonesia is no different. Only a few service providers have online presence. In most cases Indonesians tend to look out for flyers or wait for service providers introducing them through mailbox in their yards.
Recommendations from neighbors, family and friends might also help at times but not necessarily make the whole procedure any easier. Top of that, service providers have no regular time for work and often are unreachable over phone. Moreover, once you find one price negotiation becomes a tedious factor. is another awkward factor that complicates the dealings even more.
Seekmi, a startup that has built a platform for service providers and service seekers, enters as a panacea to rescue both the parties, be it service seeker or provider, from the hassle of such complicacy.
Seekmi is a matchmaking platform for service providers and service seekers. While it provides domestic services including household staff and nannies, which are common even in Indonesia’s middle class families, in coming years it aims to provide a broad range of services including creative services like photography and design, and masseurs, and makeup artists will be covered by the platform.
To some extend Seekmi is a lot like TaskRabbit. However, it seems they are a little better than TaskRabbit in few areas. Number one it is a match making platform, means something a lot like okcupid, and it goes above and beyond household chores.
However, since the startup is still in its infancy, only offers a sign up option for service provider, it is difficult to predict how they will evolve over the time.
Launched back in April, Seekmi is founded by Wicaksono, Clarissa Leung and Wilson Yanaprasetya. The startup now has a five members team and have around 500 service provider in its platform. .
Wicaksono one of the founders of the startup has quite good connections. Prior to starting Seekmi Wicaksono worked at Emtek, one of the biggest media companies of Indonesia. As a result, Wicaksono has bagged a special “acceleration” program on behalf of Seekmi. Seekmi has office space in the SCTV tower, which is one of the TV stations under Emtek’s umbrella. Emtek will also be providing marketing support to this startup. Wicaksono calls it ‘Special Treatment’ by Emtek as this company, although has invested in startups previously, does not usually support startups in the way it is doing in case of Seekmi.
To make thing even better for Seekmi, Justin Kan of Justin.tv fame, who is also a partner at YC happens to be cousin of Wicaksono and Indonesia’s former minister for tourism and the creative economy, Mari Pangestu, happens to be his aunt. Both are angel investors to Seekmi.
Moreover his cousin Kan is a partner of Y Combinator which links Wicaksono directly to Y Combinator network and informal mentorship. All these strong networks have helped Seekmi to kick start in the most powerful way possible!
The mechanism is pretty simple. Service seekers submit their request through a form to Seekmi. Seekmi takes those requests and then links them up with matching providers from its database.Service providers then submit quotations directly to the seekers. Once the seeker has chosen one service provider, further discussion is taken offline. Seekmi does not handle the payment process on its platform. To make things safe and credible Seekmi applies some screening mechanisms like service providers must submit ID, a valid phone number and references from previous clients or employers to be considered.
Seekmi follows up with all applicants manually to ensure the offers are legit. It’s a process is for ensuring quality, while still enabling informal service providers to participate. Seekmi does not ask for a tax number or company license.
Seekers, on the other hand, must fill out a form describing their particular needs. Each type of service will get its own job. To hire a photographer, the seeker needs to be able to clearly describe the type of service h/she is seeking.
There is more than one option to make money if the platform works. For now, Seekmi charge service providers every time a service provider submits a quotation they pay a fee. This fee is dependent on the type of service they offer. For example, an interior designer would be charged more than a gardener.
Wicaksono is very much optimistic about the business model working well in Indonesia, as it will ensure service seekers only get serious offers. Service providers are at a small risk, but the fees are easily paid off once a quotation turns into a job.
However, Wicaksono has decided not to impose a fee in the beginning of the journey of Seekmi. He doesn’t have a fixed time plan for when payments will be introduced, but focuses on the necessity gain trust first while proving that the concept will open up job opportunities for service providers.
Seekmi doesn’t have any competitors in Indonesia, though some classified sites, for example OLX also have a section for services. In Malaysia, Kaodim is a platform similar to Seekmi, and in Singapore, Page Advisor offers a similar service, but they charge vendors after a job is completed, not for an offer.
Done right, Seekmi has a bright future. However, we will have to wait to see how it goes. Its founders plan to open the platform by mid July, Wicaksono estimates the service market in Indonesia to be “in the billions,” and also has intentions of regional expansion.