It appears that on-demand laundry service is starting to gain favor with consumers. Just a couple months ago, we ran a piece about FlyCleaners – a venture captial-backed startup that offers on-demand laundry service to residents of Brooklyn, NYC. In December of last year, the company raised more than $2 million dollars from angel investors to expand its reach, and now Washio — FlyCleaners’ West-coast competitor — has followed suit.
Just yesterday, the California-based startup announced that it has raised roughly $2.25 million in seed funding to expand operations to new areas. The company launched in LA and SF just a few short months ago in 2013, but has experienced pretty tremendous growth since it first opened its doors.
In terms of the business model, Wahsio is nearly identical to FlyCleaners – albeit with a few minor differences in pricing options. The service works like this: You have a bundle of laundry that you have neither the time nor the resources to do yourself, so you pop open the Washio mobile app and schedule a pickup. Within the next 24 hours, Washio will come get your laundry, wash/fold/hang everything, and deliver it at whatever time/location you specify. At this point, the company doesn’t do any of the washing itself. Instead, it contracts that part out to third-party laundry facilities – but it does do all the pickup and drop-off, and handles payments directly from the mobile app.
Pricing is fairly straightforward – it’s $1.60 per pound of laundry, and you must have a minimum of 10 pounds for pickup. The cost of dry cleaning services varies depending on what type of item you need cleaned, but for the most part it’s relatively affordable.
If you’ve already got a washer and dryer in your home, using a service like this probably doesn’t make sense, but for people who don’t have those luxuries, or are simply too busy to spend a couple hours in a laundromat, on-demand laundry services have a bit more appeal.
The fact that both FlyCleaners and Washio have received such warm receptions in their respective areas and are expanding so quickly is quite telling. There’s clearly a demand for the services they’re offering, and if the VC money keeps rolling in like this, there’s a good chance that on-demand laundry will be available in your city fairly soon.
Washio CEO Jordan Metzner says the company is looking to tackle five to 10 new cities this year.
What do you think? Would you use a service like Washio, or do you think the idea of on-demand laundry service is ridiculous? Sound off in the comments below.