We have been sitting in palpable excitement, awaiting the moment when we can officially announce Eden, and today we are finally able to.
There are many ways to define Eden. Eden is automation for house chores. It is room service for homes. It is a concierge service without live-in concierges, centrally managed and monitored via a collection of interconnected applications. It is a well-managed marketplace connecting homeowners and high-quality service providers.
At its core, Eden is a superior answer to the question of an inferior lifestyle. If you’ve ever wanted to be done with house chores or wanted better services for things like your laundry, meals, house cleaning, equipment maintenance, etc, then you have silently prayed for Eden.
And now it’s here!
If you are Nigerian, you understand that things are just unnecessarily difficult. Buses are hot creaky metal death-boxes that could catch fire at any moment. You need to queue to join the queue that connects to the queue to get your voters’ card, driver's license and international passport photographs. You enter a ride-hailing taxi so you can get stuff done on the go; only for the driver to ask you for directions #facepalm.
Let’s face it: life in Nigeria is difficult. Life in Lagos, noticeably worse. You pay a lot of money for power, health, water, and food, and what you receive for your trouble is mediocre service, or worse - service that nearly kills you.
Recently, my co-founders and I have become obsessed with the idea of sustainable African cities. The premise of that thinking is that cities on the continent can be built a lot more efficiently to handle population, provide basic infrastructure at a scale that is affordable (both to governments and taxpayers), at a standard that competes with what is considered the best internationally, while enabling productivity at scale.
Whenever we read about or listen to people talking about sustainable African cities, they tend to view the subject from the viewpoint of its complexities: they analyze the trickledown effect of policies, macroeconomics and the slowly-shifting demographic behavior of Africans. We think these are worthy, impressive ways to look at this problem. We also think that approaching the problem from the reverse (simple solutions to a complex problem) is an important component. We are supplying that component.
Life is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Today’s gig economy has proven that much to be true. The gig economy, in a nutshell, enables people with some money but little time to hire people with little money but some time to do specific, time-bound tasks. The result of that interaction is a net improvement in the quality of life for both parties in that equation.
We have studied this phenomenon and used those insights to create a blueprint for our idea of sustainable African cities. We imagine a complete redesign of society and the principles that drive it. We are creating new cultures, systems and processes to ensure that people who provide services are rewarded properly and the people who require those services receive the highest quality of service possible. We believe that if we build on that principle from the ground up, we’ll have a more efficient, better-designed and scaleable model for African cities that we can replicate over and over across the continent.
The proof-of-concept for this idea is what we are announcing today: our automated concierge service, called Eden.
Cool. So. How does it work?
Our approach is simple. The trick is in the execution:
- We find and onboard the best service providers Nigeria has to offer.
- We step up their service quality using our rigorously-designed Eden Services Quality Blueprint.
- We standardize the pricing for all these service providers so they’re paid fairly while our customers are also not over-billed for these services.
- We give you a well-trained home manager, also known as a concierge (we call them "Gardeners") who manages the execution of the services while you go about your day.
- The repeat delivery of excellent service becomes culture through constant iteration.
Since April 2019, we’ve screened 97 service partners and on-boarded 9 after they met the Eden Quality Standard.
We take special pride in our Gardeners (the concierge arm of Eden). We have invested time and resources in their learning and development as they’re the human component - and the true proof of our hypothesis. At the moment, Eden is powered by 6 Gardeners, and that number will grow with our customer base.
To deliver Eden at scale, we’ve built two platforms called Garden and Lighthouse.
Garden is the user’s Eden app, designed to push dynamic status updates on your home as soon as you’re on Eden. It updates you on when your home has been cleaned, your fridge restocked, and so on - and also tells you when next your services will occur. You can rate services, send special requests to your gardener and basically outsource your home’s tasks.
Lighthouse is our central intelligence system. It learns your preferences and requirements, routes them to the most appropriate Service Partners on schedule, and guides the Gardeners on how best to coordinate the delivery of your services.
The result is enjoyed by our dear customers, all 58 of them who have received 772 services through our closed beta pilot between April and August 2019. Thank you, Humans of Eden for being part of creating a superior culture of service excellence 🙏💚.
The Future of Eden
The feedback from our early customers has shown us that we’re on to something. We’re going to continue building out Eden’s services and welcoming new members as we use the momentum from this to build new, exciting components of the bigger goal of sustainable living in sustainable African cities.
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