As cleans up in 17 new UK cities, it eyes Irish expansion

15 Sep 2016 CEO Sam James, the on-demand cleaning service co-founded by Irish entrepreneur Jules Coleman, has expanded to 17 cities across the UK and, according to CEO Sam James, it is coming to more cities in Ireland.

This week,, which was co-founded in London in 2012 by Irishwoman Jules Coleman and expanded after raising a $6m investment from Accel Partners, revealed plans to expand its service in 17 cities across the UK including London, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Coleman and her co-founders Alex Depledge and Tom Nimmo exited the company after was acquired by Berlin-based home-cleaning player Helpling for an estimated €32m.

‘The whole business runs on the tech that Jules had built’

Future Human launched in Dublin two years ago but has been tentatively growing elsewhere in Ireland, starting with a soft launch Cork this summer and with plans to come to Belfast very soon, said James.

According to James, some 2,500 independent cleaners are currently active on and collectively have cleaned for more than 1.2m hours across various cities.

“We have expanded into 10 cities in the last two to three months and we are looking at going further,” explained James.

“We haven’t changed too much since the company was acquired by Helpling. Jules, Alex and Tom did such a good job.

“They launched in 14 countries in the space of 12 months and it made sense to use the skills and stuff in-house coupled with the technology. The whole business runs on the tech that Jules had built.

“We have the skills and the technology to do what we are doing now which is expanding into many other markets.”

Perfect storm

James explained that the UK is ripe for growth due to changing demographics, and a fast-growing tech-oriented and tech-savvy workforce. “In the UK, one in three people now have some form of domestic help. Services like democratises this a lot more and it fits easily with people’s needs and spending power.”

He said Ireland has been a great success for the company. “If you compare it to where we are globally, Ireland is up there with Germany, France and the Netherlands and punches above its weight. It is a strong brand in Ireland.”

Next on the roadmap will be Belfast. “Belfast is going to be in the next wave.

“In the current wave, we are taking on locations like Brighton, Reading, Leicester, Bristol and Glasgow.

“In Ireland, we soft-launched in Cork during the summer and we’ve been slowly adding cleaners in the last few weeks.

“Very quickly, we have grown our market in the UK from five to 17 locations and we aim to do the same in Ireland.”

Asked if would consider diversifying, possibly taking on new areas like car valeting, for example, James replied: “It is definitely something we are thinking about. Clearly, the market is huge. The main focus until now is getting it right. It seems like a simple thing.

“We are eyeing other markets around the world and we are keen to dip our toe in the water. These new markets are areas we are thinking about but we are concentrating on our Ireland and UK expansion first.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years