Alongside Weaving Invest, Second Century Ventures and strategic Business Angels, we’re thrilled to lead Myr.ai’s €2M seed round, to help it disrupt traditional office management models. With its hybrid approach combining human skills and technology, the 2 years old workplace startup intends to lay the foundations of the offices of the future, starting with the ideal entry point : workplace cleaning.
Myr.ai ambitiously takes on the vast market of workplace cleaning, disrupting a model that is detrimental to companies, cleaning operators and the environment altogether.
In the wake of the pandemic, as hybrid working has become the new norm across service-based industries, demand for workplace optimization has surged amongst employees: a survey conducted by Yougov and CBD in September 2021 found that 71% of office workers expect their workplace to be optimized. But to meet this new drive for flexibility, digitalization, and innovation, Europe’s 100B€ workplace cleaning industry still has a long way to go. Faced with a severe hiring crisis (in 2020, 17% of office cleaning jobs were unfilled in France), the industry’s slow-moving incumbents are still struggling to take advantage of digital technologies.
It’s a shame, as these inefficiencies are detrimental to all parties : companies, which lack transparency and fail to meet the new efficiency standards requested by their employees; cleaning operators, whose very harsh working conditions are leading to a lot of churn… And to the environment : by leveraging data on energy consumption, up to 80% of water and electricity used along the cleaning process could be spared.
On the other end of the spectrum, proptech startups have only weakly addressed the issue. Over the 2000+ European proptech startups we’ve identified since 2018 with Axeleo Proptech I, only a few were tackling workplace cleaning, with often a limited value proposal in terms of technology offering and product sophistication. Addressing this old-school market with a tech-oriented positioning, we found Myr.ai to be ahead of the curve.
With a distinctive approach, leveraging technology to rethink every bit of the cleaning operations, Myr.ai enhances its efficiency, transparency and flexibility, while securing energy savings in the process.
Founded by two experienced founders – Axel Hars, former Regional Director at Doctolib, and Joackim Boucetta, ex Digital Marketing specialist at Google – Myr.ai has perfectly figured out how to address its market.
The point is simple : making the best of the human workforce by implementing the tech solutions that will support cleaning operators where they really need it. Whether it’s through floor cleaning robots operating at night, or connected devices (IoT) providing real-time data to office managers, cleaning personnel can now operate in the best conditions where they are really needed, while clients can monitor their office cleaning process and see it improve over time.
This hybrid and differentiating value proposition, combining human know-how with technology, is proving successful: there are 60% fewer complaints amongst cleaning staff who use Myr.ai, and 30% less churn amongst employees when daytime work is favored over nighttime. In addition, incorporating digital technology into the cleaning process also generates energy savings: for the same surface covered, a robot vacuum cleaner uses 80% less water and 10 times less electricity than the standard manual cleaning process.
Why we invested: Myr.ai‘s value prop constitutes the perfect entry point to gradually introduce technology into our offices and facilities.
For Myr.ai, cleaning is only the beginning: Axel and Joackim are forward-looking, and their roadmap is packed. In fact, workplace cleaning is an ideal entry point for Myr.ai to start digitizing a wider range of office and facility management processes. Take, for example, CO2 monitoring. We’ve seen dozens of startups struggling to sell their sensors to clients who are still reluctant to change their air quality improvement processes (open windows more, ventilate spaces…). Already inside offices, Myr.ai does not face this appropriation problem, as the exact same person who would take care of the sensors and perform the action it suggests (i.e. opening windows).
Built around tightly-knit software & hardware components, Myr.ai is creating the first Workplace Operating System (WOS), letting companies optimize their operations and decision process by harnessing the potential of all the untapped data their offices are packed with.
Combined with the two founders’ drive and ability to execute, this potential for gradual diversification over the medium term really appealed to us as investors. With this €2 million raise, Myr.ai will be able to support its commercial development throughout Europe, strengthen its teams, and proceed with the further development of its product.
Congrats to Axel and Joackim, we are more than happy to support you in your efforts to dust off the office cleaning industry!
Credits Picture : Unsplash