Enter the Game
Santiago | Chile
A lot of older people across Chile and many other countries in the world have too low a retirement to survive. At the same time it's very difficult to find a job for those who still want and can work. Servisenior answers this problem – it connects people who need help, for example in taking care for annual check-up, cleaning, taking care of kid, with seniors who have time, will and skills to do it.
We started at the end of 2015 - says David Allendes, founder of Servisenior -. We made a pilot with a simple website, we connected some people, things worked quite well, so we applied for seed capital from the government. We worked with it in 2016, but all the year was wasted waiting for the programmers to prepare a proper platform. In 2017 we basically started again, this time with funds for social innovation. Our idea has a huge potential – it has a clear impact and it's scalable. Since few months the platform is finally working, you can visit it, write what you need, seniors nearby will see it, the first which reacts gets the job. Then you pay the cost, we keep it till the job is done and send it to the senior only after. At the end both senior and client evaluate each other. At the beginning we were doing 30-40 services per months, but last month we did 300. We are growing fast. The idea is to finish the year with 1500-2000 services per month.
What makes Servisenior different from other platforms of this type is that seniors are actually much more involved than the average person in the services they are providing.
Services are really well done, seniors take their time and they really want to solve the problem. Sometimes you pay them for 3 hours, but if they have to work 3,5 hour, they will. One of the most common services is to take your car for the annual check-up. If something is wrong with your car, even a small thing, maybe a broken mirror, it won't be approved. Seniors typically would change the mirror and come back for the stamp. I bet none of young people would do that, they will give you back the car saying: it was rejected. It's part of the value we want to show to the clients.
The involvement is seniors' strong point. The weak one could be the lack of technological literacy needed to use Servisenior.
It's a challenge, but we actually have a lot of seniors which don't have problem with using technology. We also work with slightly younger people. In 2016, when we started, we worked only with people above 60. Then we got a lot of press and plenty of people between 50 and 60 started to write to us asking for joining. We realized it's very difficult for them to find a job and if they don't work for few years, their retirement drops down a lot. We decided to open the platform for them as well. Those people are younger, much more tech savvy. But even older people, a lot of them are doing well. They just need the email in their cell phone. The only more complex thing they need to do is the description at the beginning, they put information about their professional experience, education, what they want to do, what's their availability, personal record, they cannot have any previous problem with the law. For some specific jobs we will ask for more information, for example we want to launch home nursing and for that you need some kind of certification that you studied and you have the knowledge to do the job. We also explain seniors that having an email can actually bring them new opportunities. They can use other platforms, we want them to be active.
And active they already are, a lot of them signed up. Next step is to get more services for them.
We could do 5.000-10.000 services per month, we have about 2000 seniors around Chile and 1500 which haven't finished their description yet. Next step will be to grow the client side. We have to create a bigger team, have more programmers, start the sales team. We want to collaborate more with companies, we provide services with our seniors for 2-3 of them in Chile, but we could work with much more. We are also thinking to open in other countries in South America.
Everything is possible, if you are persistent enough.
You need perseverance. I don't know how many people will do what we are doing, considering all the problems we had on the way. Perseverance is a must, but it's not the only thing. It's important to understand what is really happening and how crucial a good business model is. Many people just go and do something but they don't think how they will be able to finance it. It's not about being rich, it's about sustaining the project. It's also important to do things that you are motivated to and feel proud of. If you think something is wrong in the world, in your social circle, community, do whatever you can to fix it. Don't stay in silence. Enter the game.
More about Servisenior: servisenior.cl