Laundry services startup Wassup raises $ 3.2 million-The Success Story

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Omni-channel, on-demand laundry services startup Wassup has raised $ 3.2 million per series A from existing investors including Anil Jain, MD, Refex Energy, HNIs from India and the Middle East. The company will use the investment for expansion and to build a stronger management team. “We would also utilise the funds for improving the tech interface and increase our customer base through acquisitions of smaller companies and organic addition of customers,” said Balachandar R, co-founder, Wassup.

Speaking of the investment, Anil Jain, said, “The company has a sustainable, scalable model and has been steadily growing since its start in 2011. Among several laundry service startups that sprung up in the last 18 months, some of which have shut down, Wassup has steadily added 7 cities to its list.

Founded in 2011 by Balachandar R and Durga Das, Wassup is an on-demand service provider which currently offers services like laundry, dry cleaning, shoes, and bag refurbishments at users’ doorstep. They have a young team of entrepreneurial professionals from hospitality, retail, and laundry industry.

In 2011, the entrepreneurship bug bit him. In order to ease the itch he started brainstorming ideas with Durga Das, Managing Partner of Das Star Ventures. They brainstormed on multiple ideas from retail fashion to dotcom ideas, finally arriving at an on-demand laundry service, because washing is a daily need just like eating. Das Star Ventures put in the seed investment of Rs. 4 crore in Laundry Project Pvt.Ltd, an entity that owns Wassup brand.  Later, they raised institutional funding from Canara Bank for another Rs. 4 crore.

Currently operational in seven cities – Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurugram, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Cochin, Wassup eyes for pan-India expansion. They currently have 30 hyper local hubs/retail stores. The startup is looking to expand to 50 stores by the end of this financial year through their retail franchise model.

“Currently we are in 7 cities doing 1000 orders plus per day. We are looking at scaling up our business through consolidation, franchising, aggregation. With many on-demand laundries failing to survive, we are operationally profitable thanks to our hybrid model of B2B and B2C, which keeps us operational in the green,” said Balachandar.

Earlier in April 2016, the company had expanded its operations to Hyderabad by acquiring another on-demand startup Ezeewash in a full equity deal. Prior to that in November 2015, the company had acquired Chamak. In May 2015, Jabong’s founders Pravin Sinha and Arun Chandra Mohan invested in Wassup.

Here is how it works:

Wassup sends someone to your house to pick up garments to be washed. They inspect, tag clothes accordingly because every fabric has its own washing instruction which we don’t pay attention to usually. (Even when we buy expensive clothes from Zara and the likes, most of the injustice happens to the clothes during washing time.) They wash, iron and deliver.  Regular delivery in 4 days and express in 24 hours.  Each of their facility has a capacity to wash 5 tones of garments a day.

Target demography

According to a report by consulting firm KPMG, the organized laundry market in India is currently around Rs 5,000 crore.  The unorganized market is estimated to be around Rs 2,00,000 crore. Though there were a few old players in the laundry business in India like Jyothy Fabricare Services, Wassup is the first one which has fine-tuned its operation for nationwide scale. Wassup is trying to push the limits and become the category creator in its field. Going forward we wouldn’t be surprised if the corporates start giving Wassup subscriptions as perks for their employees — like how they do if for food with Sodexo card.

Wassup’s aim is to create an affordable destination for all garment washing. They are targeting working professionals in cities who don’t have a support system. Wassup will take care of all their washing needs. For 40 garments a month, the company charges Rs. 1,299 — which includes two home visits, ironing and delivering back at home.

Their current list of customers in B2B sector includes Taj Vivanta, Raddison, The Oberoi, IIT Mardras, VIT, Indian Navy and Mahindra WorldCity to mention a few.