Dan Nativ created a platform to improve the relationship between contractors and their clients, but above all, he created an open system that allows services budgeting to be done in a transparent way.
When he was a young boy, Dan Nativ always carried a notebook that he named the “little book of ideas”, in which he wrote down everything he could think of to get ahead financially. “I started at a very young age. My mother tells me that she never had to buy me a toy because I made them myself,” says Dan. All the ideas he wrote down also had a social purpose: to help others. “Social issues have always interested me, for having experienced them first-hand,” he acknowledges and highlights that growing up, he often had to choose whether that day he was going to have lunch or dinner.
One day, in a kind of “World Cup of ideas”, Dan analyzed all the potential projects he had written down and started discarding the weakest ones until he had one remaining idea. That final idea would soon become Qxm, the project that led him to be chosen as a Yunus & Youth Fellow. Qxm is a platform that seeks to solve informality in the hiring of contractors, ranging from services for the home, such as plumbing, blacksmithing and masonry, to others such as those related to the automotive sector, pet care or even beauty services.
The idea came to Dan about eight and a half years ago when he helped a friend install a washing machine in his house. “He told me he had called three plumbers who gave him three totally different budgets … And he always tells me that at that moment I became silent. What happened was that I kept thinking about it, I went back home, I sat down with my notebook and began to write down all the questions that I could think of and to search the Internet for what existed already. I didn’t find anything similar”, he says.
Qxm works as a meeting point between the two parties: the client and the contractor (service provider), but the differential element is that the contractor budgets in an open and transparent way. “This generated a lot of noise at the beginning, but we opened it because by doing this we allow the market to begin to regulate and have price parameters,” he explains and adds: “If you need to buy a product, you can go to several sites and find a reference value, a maximum and a minimum, but if I ask you how much it costs to paint a wall, it is almost impossible for you to know. We understand that the age, the experience of the worker or the quality of their work makes one service more expensive than another, but a service cannot be more expensive by 1,000%”.
Qxm also offers courses and training for service providers, with a focus on financial education, cover letter writing, and public speaking. “We bring together workers with entities, universities, ministries or foundations that are giving soft skills training, and we also offer hard skills training so that contractors can improve and double or triple the services they offer,” he explains.
“What we were able to confirm is that thanks to this open market approach and clear budgets, the client ends up saving, depending on the category, up to 40%. In parallel, the contractor gets many more clients without having to charge less than what he/she should charge”, says Dan. Today, Qxm’s team is made up of 12 people who work part-time and as freelancers. “Some can dedicate more time, others less, but the premise is always to dedicate as much time as you can, as long as it serves both Qxm and the employee”, clarifies Dan.
“What I liked about the Yunus & Youth Fellowship is that it is designed for social enterprises. Everything else that I found in relation to solving real social problems was aimed at NGOs or charities that needed to receive contributions. And that is not the same as being a business”, he explains. About the program, Dan says he decided to make the most of it: “I’ve had one-on-one conversations with most of the Y&Y Fellows who participate in the program because it seems to me that this is where the greatest benefit lies”, he says.
On the other hand, he is working with two mentors on the next steps: a brand relaunch with a beta version of the site and the search for investors. “I am very happy with my mentors, they are very committed. They probably don’t remember this, but in our first meeting they told me ‘from now on we are a team’ and it may sound a bit corny, but being able to have a team with two people who have a lot of experience, one who is a director and the other is head of a very important department at a company like Google… it’s very important ”, he assures.
From writing ideas in a notebook to nowadays, Dan has always believed that the most important thing to succeed as a social entrepreneur is the purpose: “It seems to me that the clearer one has the purpose, the easier everything else falls into place by itself. I would also say that it is always important to be surrounded by people who love us, who serve as an anchor, people who contribute, support and accompany us because we always need them”, he concludes.