[THE INVESTOR] JAKARTA -- Up until three years ago, OKHome Mobile Indonesia cofounders Kim Dae-hyun and Choi Jin-suk worked in the strategy and management divisions of Korean entertainment powerhouse YG Entertainment. But now here they are in Indonesia.
When the pair first arrived in Jakarta in early 2015, they didn’t speak the language or have any understanding of the local culture.
“One of our visions was to show other young Asians that they can go beyond borders and seek adventure abroad,” said Kim. “We researched many countries including India and China but in the end, we were drawn to the world’s fourth-most populous country that had a relatively easy language to boot.”
OKHome Mobile Indonesia cofounders COO Choi Jin-suk (left) and CEO Kim Dae-hyun
The two spent their first year in Indonesia understanding the country: Choi enrolled in school to master Indonesian while Kim focused on marketing research and learning computer programing. They finally settled on opening an on-demand cleaning service, which isn’t what physics and chemical engineering majors usually do. But based on their previous corporate experience, they decided this was what they wanted.
“We discovered that the paradigm for cleaning is changing to mostly part-time help after the minimum wages rose to double-digits,” said Kim. In Indonesia, affluent families usually hire in-house domestic helpers who charge between US$80 to US$250 a month.
While providing quality cleaning services to customers, Kim and Choi were also determined to provide quality jobs to cleaning helpers. “We wanted to provide better services to the Indonesian people and also create stable, quality jobs for the underprivileged,” Choi said.
This is why OKHome makes it a point to find the right people and train them properly. The salaries that OKHome employees make are higher than most full-time domestic helps, according to Kim. OKHome customers also seem to be satisfied, as the firm’s retention rate is around 90 percent.
This is being reflected in the numbers. In January 2018, OKHome secured US$300,000 in seed funding from Daum Kakao-backed K-Cube Ventures and Spring Camp. The money will be used on branding and technological development.
OKHome now plans to expand to other lifestyle and home service businesses in the near future. “We will provide home services -- be it cleaning services or maintenance -- to give family members more quality time together,” said Kim.
By Park Ga-young and Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This story was sponsored by the Samsung Press Foundation. - Ed.