Nicolas Huskin, HappiK's Founder and CEO, wants to free service voucher agencies of their administrative and mental burdens, allowing them to focus on what matters most: the satisfaction and well-being of their housekeepers and clients. This digital solution will optimize and simplify interaction and communication between 3 key players: the service voucher agencies, their employees, and their customers.
HappiK's objective is to launch the first MVP this September after a long UX process and the creation of the app's first interactive prototypes.
With a master's degree in management from Solvay Business School, I began my career in banking as a business consultant. However, I'm a digital consultant by nature with 13 years of expertise. First as a project manager, then for years as a key account manager at Emakina. A Brussel-based digital agency, where I was working with clients to grow their business and brand value. I was managing strategic and commercial relationships for key international accounts, allowing me to have large accounts for which I could sell all available services. Online as offline, ranging from website and app development to social media to TV, radio, and much more.
I was active in both B2B and B2C environments, giving me significant experience in a variety of sectors. By implying different technologies and complexities, I am known as a "digital Swiss knife". 😎
💡You can find more details about Nicolas' qualifications, employment history, education, skills, and experience on his 👉LinkedIn profile👈.
I came up with the idea after a personal experience two years ago. I was (and still am) a client of a service voucher agency, and I take care of this at home. At one point, we had 4 out of 5 replacements in 5 weeks. And you know how this works... You have to make an appointment with the agency, then you wait at home for the housekeeper to arrive, in order to give a roundabout and instructions on what must be done that day. But when it comes to replacements, you don't want to go into great depth.
Following this process, you go to work, return home, and you have no idea what he or she has done. This means there's a significant lack of communication, which made me believe that something had to be done.
The second trigger occurred when the service voucher agency where I was a client went bankrupt. When I found a new one, they told me I had to write everything down on a piece of paper to communicate with my housekeeper, whether it was a post-it note or a short note. As a "digital Swiss knife", I found it to be completely incompatible with my personality. In a manner of speaking, I got pain in my hand thinking about scribbling every time a housekeeper comes.😉
As a result, I was quick to realize that the communication was not entirely consistent. I'd like to communicate more effectively with both my agency and my housekeeper as a client. My to-do list must be digitally available, so that any replacement completely understands what to do on that particular day, where the materials and products are, etc...
To start, I made an online survey through Quicksurveys (now Tolunastart) and began thinking about the functionalities. To understand the real customer needs I met multiple service voucher agencies to check whether I'm the only one with such frustrations or not. When this research showed there was a need and market potential, I approached La Maison de l'Entreprise (LME), a startup incubator based in Mons.
Through them, I ended up at Digital Attraxion, a startup booster or accelerator. They're great for startups as they provide both funding and coaching. So I made my pitch to their committee and it was an instant success. With this acquired financial means and interest in my pocket, I started to realize that something was possible to create.
As the next step, I started building a team. The manager of a service voucher agency in Brussels (Charles Verbruggen) had already called me immediately to say that he was very interested and wanted to join the project. Like me, he was convinced that the sector urgently needed digitization. Given his knowledge, this combination was ideal for me. Next to him, we completed the team with a former colleague from Emakina, a great developer with a lot of experience in product developments and startups (Gilles Coomans). Together we had all the necessary skills to embark on this exciting entrepreneurial adventure.
HappiK is based in Mons, but the team is mainly based in Brussels. We are therefore currently mainly active in Brussels and Wallonia. By 2022 we also want to expand to Flanders.
Today we mainly need to gain brand awareness. There are a few other 'players' on the market, for a market size of about 1500 service voucher agencies in Belgium. Mainly older players with a very large market share, but also with outdated technology, little innovation, and poor user experience. I strongly believe there's a market for us and that we can grow quickly because we are different in our approach. HappiK is a real assistant, simplifying the daily experience of all three actors: the housekeeper, the service voucher agency, and the client by delivering the right info at the right time for a smooth administrative process.
Service voucher agencies are really something Belgian. In France, for example, they work a little differently. But as said this has little influence on us as we really want to sell ourselves as an assistant. So yes, abroad is definitely an ambition for us.
Another ambition of HappiK is to expand to other professions and sectors with our assistant. B2B, such as maintenance of buildings or swimming pools maintenance, green services at municipal authorities, cleaning teams in company buildings, or syndics of apartments. With HappiK, planning, administration, communication, and division of tasks between the various actors can be much more efficient. In other words, we really see the potential of the assistant formula, because it's easily scalable. Wherever there is an orchestration of people needed, HappiK can help.
Through a former colleague of mine at Emakina who had built an app together with David Souery, Co-Founder and Head of Design at Nightborn. He told me that David was a brilliantly smart and good guy. So I arranged a meeting, which I immediately had a good feeling about. Nightborn is young and dynamic, very available and accessible, and at competitive prices. In addition, they are located in Brussels, which was interesting to me, as certain criteria were met for obtaining a subsidy.
Nightborn was very actively involved, both in discussions with me as with the partner of the service voucher agency. They not only carried out their tasks but also contributed ideas to our story. In this way, they immediately understood the profession and the sector. In such meetings between startups, long discussions can sometimes take place about certain matters, because not everything is fixed or has already been decided. We must challenge everything because everything is solvable.
As mentioned, one of their great strengths is that they are very available and reactive, that is their way of working. When you ask them a question, they immediately jump into action. Nightborn really delivers.
💡 Find out more about our process at Nightborn 👉nightborn.be/process👈
The fact that our target group of housekeepers isn't the most digitized segment of the population is our major challenge. Also, they frequently don't speak our language, sometimes can not read, or simply don't have smartphones (because they cannot afford it or are reluctant to have one).
In addition, it's very important for us to continue to offer a simple and straightforward User Experience (UX). Because it's a big challenge to make our application not too complex. Simplicity is our core value: very light, with colorful buttons and even emojis to simplify use for all. We understood that if it's too complex it will not be used.
That's the difficulty... To keep it simple. The more you think, the more functionalities you want to add. And then the simplicity is lost.
Get in touch.
Get in touch
Maxime : + 32 494 90 36 65
David : + 32 468 10 07 97
Place Sainte Gudule 5, 1000 Brussels, Belgium