Startup Spotlight: Washio, on-demand laundry service

The on-demand smartphone apps that brought you services such as Uber and Instacart are now doing your laundry.

Washio is a mobile app that dispatches drivers to pick up dirty laundry and dry cleaning from homes and businesses, and returns it  laundered within about a day.  The year-old company is making a killing among consumers who want to avoid the trek to the laundromat or don’t have time to rush out of work and pick up the dry cleaning.

Here’s the dirty details on the startup that takes care of your dirty laundry.

Name: Washio

Founder: Jordan Metzner, 30, a Southern California entrepreneur whose most recent project was a Chipotle-style restaurant chain in South America, called the California Burrito Company

Headquarters: Santa Monica, with a distribution center in San Francisco

Launched: March 2013

Service area: San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Metzner has plans to expand to Palo Alto. Mountain View, Virginia and Maryland, contingent upon funding.

Devices: App for iOS through the App Store and  for Android through Google Play.

What it offers: If you don’t have a washer and dryer at home or a laundromat within walking distance, or if you’re too busy to be shuttling your dirty clothes around town, Washio could be an alternative (if you have a bit of disposable income). Through a smartphone app, you can order a Washio-employed driver — called a “ninja” — to show up at your house or business at a specified time to pick up your laundry and dry cleaning. Orders are returned within 24 to 36 hours.

Washio’s San Francisco distribution center is the hub where laundry orders are processed. Washio partners with wholesale cleaners — the type of laundry services that hotels and restaurants use — to do the washing, drying, folding and dry cleaning.

Cost: Washio charges by the pound for laundry ($1.60-$2.75) and by item for dry cleaning ($6-$8). Metzer said prices are about the same as or less than any brick-and-mortar dry cleaner or laundromat. Because Washio partners with wholesale cleaners, which are cheaper than retail businesses, the company can make a profit of 20 percent to 100 percent on orders. There’s a $20 minimum to use Washio, and the delivery fee is $3.99.

Some Bay Area companies have started offering Washio credits to employees.

Bonus: Washio will guarantee compensation or replacement if any of the cleaners lose or destroy your clothes.

Funding: Venture-capital backed; raised $3.3 million in seed funding. Metzner plans to “actively pursue” a Series A within the next two to four months.

Competition: FlyCleaners, SFWash, Sudzee

Dessert: Metzner says on-demand ride-sharing services helped him come up with the idea for Washio: “Uber has been an inspiration to a lot of us in the technology industry.”

Image courtesy Washio

 

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  • Andrew Swires

    I drive for Washio and have a code to score you $10 off your first order! Code:ASWI210

 
 
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