Our new interview series with Founder Institute, a local platform of the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator that roperates across 185+ cities with a $20B estimated portfolio value, continues! In February 2020, the first Frankfurt cohort has officially ended, and the result was eight graduates. With the deep- dive interviews you get to know the founders, the projects and their challenges. Applications for the next cohort are now open here until 16.8. This time we present Mary and Jarvis.
Who are you, what are you doing and how did you get to what you do today?
My name is Ronan Hardy. I come from Nantes, a city in Bretagne, France. After a starting career in purchasing which brought me to Frankfurt in early 2014, I founded Mary and Jarvis UG two years ago.
I wanted to create a service that I was missing and would have greatly needed. The most valuable commodity is time so the idea was to free the mind from a set of activities which has to be done but can be a hassle to do and or organize, even more in a foreign country.
How would you describe your business idea in a maximum of 3 sentences?
Mary and Jarvis is a turnkey sustainable solution for home-related service simplifying the life of urban dwellers. With one point of contact, we send a vetted employee to weekly support a client from their chosen domestic activities and we coordinate their on-demand requests via our home conciergerie. We simplify your home for a fuller, sustainable life.
What was your biggest learning?
It is hard to pick just one out of the many I’ve done. I think the main one was to start the company with so little resources in capital AND in manpower = on my own with an almost empty wallet. Starting alone teaches you valuable lessons, especially in humility and in people but the lack of capital makes everything so slow, so much more painful and frustrating as you have to make sure to keep the financial boat afloat every single month. Ok, it fuels creativity like crazy but it hinders speed through team dynamic which is key to succeed.
My advice would be to keep your work, manage your startup idea on the side, build up a network in the area your idea belongs to until you assess it is the time to take the leap. Not stop everything THEN take the leap. However, as the french say: “c’est la vie”! If you don’t take any chances, you never start anyway.
Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
In five years, M&J will have the team, the app and the network to power our vision to bring good into our clients home. Consequently we will be known as the premium home sustainable service operating in at least 10 main international hubs in western europe and we will be B Corp Certified.
What connects you to the FrankfurtRheinMain region? And what is happening in our startup ecosystem?
A career opportunity brought me to the region and I first thought that Frankfurt would be a mere quick stop. But this city spirit has one that gradually grows in you. It is big enough, small enough. It gets my needs covered and it creates a feeling like I know my city, with always something going on to surprise me. The city is super green with the parks, the cycling area and the Main. Furthermore, nature is around the corner for nice hikes and smaller towns full of personality. Plus, the international airport is right around the corner. So now I feel like home here, even though I still have to work harder on my german.
What is of primary importance is that you are located where your customers are. If that is the case, I believe the local ecosystem in FrankfurtRheinMain is well set up to help you speed up with your idea.
How did you manage Corona period?
Like many businesses, we lost 75% of our regular customers within two weeks. With the joy of home office, people were enjoying and using their home more than usual. But it didn’t mean that they were keen to do those domestic activities by themselves now, but rather that their homes were getting cluttered and dirtier faster. So after a month little by little, once reassured that we were enforcing the correct health and safety measures, clients started to come back. For the rest, I put in place vouchers, applied to the various helps provided by the federal land of Hessen, and finally took the time to launch the company blog and work on creating a community.
The goal of the blog is to bring curated information on home sustainability’s various topics in order to bring awareness that our decisions to live a more mindful life starts at home.