Mogzit - An Uber for Nanny Services
In Loline's recent series featuring local startups, we interviewed Mogzit's founder Samrawit Tarekegn to share her amazing story of founding Mogzit.
It all started when Samrawit Tarekegn went to India for her master's degree and saw the digital world there. Fascinated by what she saw, Samrawit wanted to bring those convenient and accessible platforms to her home country. She came back to Ethiopia and started researching to find a sector where she could apply the technology and start a business. She discovered a gap between the demand for trusted nannies and a secure platform providing that service; Mogzit, a platform that fills that gap, was born.
Mogzit is a startup that plans to completely change the burdensome and traditional system of in-home care service in our country. "Mogzit is an Uber for nanny service," Samrawit explains, "Our online booking system is also the first of its kind in our country. Now, parents can just search mogzit.com anywhere, anytime, and get all the necessary information about the nannies with their qualifications. Mogzit makes it as easy as that."
In the beginning, it was just one co-founder and Samrawit working on Mogzit, but now they have four co-founders and one full-time employee. Explaining the importance of a team in a startup company, Samrawit said, "You have to choose who you are working with. Are they passionate about it? Do they believe in it? You will need a team that shares your ambition. This is a challenge most startups face. But you can overcome this by having regular meetings with your team, sharing work burdens, brainstorming together, and generally creating an environment where everyone can contribute and feel a sense of ownership and belonging. We plan big and set a clear vision that we all work towards. This helps our team stay motivated and focused."
Samrawit has a control Instrumentation engineering degree from India, so we asked about the journey from that to being a business leader.
"I do have an engineering background and knew little about the business world, but I had this idea and an ambition to make it happen."
Samrawit knew she needed a mentor and skills to build a business, so she researched incubation programs that could equip her with a support system. That's how she found blueMoon, a company that provides incubation programs for startups.
"We joined blueMoon with just our idea, and we wanted to learn and get advice from people who were very experienced in the business field. Especially when we were starting out, blueMoon gave us a great sense of morale." She continued to share her experience in one of the intensive and rigorous incubation programs. "We got training on customer interviews, go-to-market strategy, and a lot more. We saw our company grow into something big with every lesson. Moreover, one of the biggest obstacles we faced was when licensing our company; we needed to pay rent in order to do that. The incubation helped us a great deal in this aspect." Samrawit reflects.
Speaking of Entrepreneurship in Ethiopia, Samrawit told us that there are a lot of entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, and improving licensing processes and other policies would help them immensely. "Startups may be companies that start small, but they have the power to create job opportunities for thousands of people," she adds.
Samrawit gave us her opinion on things that should be improved to simplify the process of launching a startup. "Many startup ideas are innovative and tech-based. So when you plan to put those ideas into practice, it is going to be challenging. On top of that, the list of sectors the government has put in is very limited, and you will be forced to align your company with one of the sectors. We need to have inclusive sectors towards emerging technologies as well as e-commerce. We should not have to change our business model to be included in one of the limited sectors and legalize our company." Samrawit suggests.
We asked Samrawit about the challenges she faced in forming the startup Mogzit. "I hope this serves as a lesson for others out there building a startup company. My first challenge was self-doubt."
"It was a big dream, and I kept asking myself if I really could do it. Putting an end to your employee journey and starting your own company is very difficult."
"And you can't go down the path you want if your co-founders don't match your passion. So, building a responsible and dedicated team was also a big challenge." She admits.
As a startup, Mogzit faced several ups and downs. "One of the challenges we faced after launching was the lack of enough certified and professional nannies," Samrawit recalls. "Our platform is location-based, so we needed several nannies in different places throughout the city. Finding this was very difficult, and it has challenged us a great deal for the first three months. There was no established network between centers that train nannies and our company, but we did market research and got the chance to work with three colleges that provide us with trained and professional nannies."
Mogzit provides skilled and professional nannies, but parents or customers may have questions about the process of vetting. Samrawit explains, "We start with the training colleges we work with; after that, we proceed with interviewing the nannies and assessing their documents. We provide a professional contract that parents and nannies sign. We will have a copy of that, and so will the nannies and the parents; furthermore, we also have one more for the police, in case it is needed. Safety is our number one priority, and our platform is designed to ensure that."
"We thoroughly work on our nannies because they spend a lot of time with children, and their character is detrimental to the children. We want the children to have the best care and support; that is why our training includes the psychology of the nannies, education, and hygiene. We also want to build a training center that provides intensive training in these areas. Working on children is a huge responsibility, as it equals working on a generation," Samrawit declared.
Samrawit continued to explain the services Mogzit provides and its expansion plans. "Currently, we are particularly hiring nannies, but soon, we want to expand to general in-home care services. We have services called nanny on-demand, part-time nanny, nonmedical services, care for the elderly, and a cooking and cleaning service. We have only launched in Addis Ababa, but we plan to expand to regional cities like Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Nazareth, and others. Not only that, but we want to build a company that will include thousands of employees. Our vision is to create a convenient and modern in-home care service in Africa." She reveals.
Loline asked where Mogzit hopes to be in 5 years. Samrawit has a defined and clear goal, and she is determined when she says, "In 5 years, we want to have Mogzit in other African countries with its training centers. We are going at a fast pace, and our team believes in the vision we have. So, hopefully, we will be one of the best in-home care service providers in Africa with a modern and professional system that has subverted the traditional paradigm of this sector."