As more and more first generation Internet entrepreneurs look for opportunities in investing in startups, apparel ecommerce firm Jabong’s founders Pravin Sinha and Arun Chandra Mohan invested in Wassup, an online laundry services startup, based out of Chennai, owned by Laundry Projects Pvt. Ltd.
Sinha and Mohan have invested an undisclosed amount, in a pre-Series A round of funding which totals up to $2 Mn, and has a clutch of other investors. “This is not a social service we are doing. Apart from Jabong we want to set up more ventures, which we cannot do it alone. So we would like to invest in businesses which we believe is scalable,” said Praveen Sinha.
When on-demand is the new buzz word, it is for reason that investors won’t be wooed. From cabs’ availability to grocery shopping, everything seems to be moving to an on-demand model, a term first coined by the IT industry, now loosely used by the e-commerce fraternity. Why not? Globally, the on-demand convenience industry is estimated at $9 Bn, laundry services just being a part of it.
In India, however, the laundry services that is dominated by unorganised players is pegged at INR 200K Cr. Balachandar R and Durga Das saw a rising demand to organise the unorganised, and started Wassup, which offers on-demand laundry service at your doorstep.
Within 4 years this Chennai-based startup caught attention of the apparel ecommerce giant Jabong’s founders Pravin Sinha and Arun Chandra and angel investor Micky Watwani. With the new funding raised, the startup plans to focus on its marketing and customer acquisition activities in Bangalore, Delhi and Chennai.
Founded in 2011 by Balachandar R and Durga Das, Wassup offers services like laundry, dry cleaning, shoes and bag refurbishments. Presently, the startup has its presence in 3 cities with 30 pickup points called “Aggregating Hubs”. With the investment raised, the startup plans to expand in 100 more cities in a span of three years with a customer base of around 1 million. Besides, it also plans to open 30 more aggregating hubs in next six months.
Balachandar’s prior experience includes his excellence in working at Hidesign whereas Durga Das is the Managing Partner of Das Star Ventures and he has been in Silicon Valley for 20 years. The Das Star Venture had invested a seed capital of INR 4 Cr in Laundry Project Pvt. Ltd, which owns Wassup, moving lately to raise institutional funds of INR 4 Cr from Canara Bank.
Durga Das, Co-founder and MD, Wassup, said, “Technology is going to be the true enabler which will foster customer delight. We have built a technology platform that integrates the consumer app, point of sale, tagging and tracking system and the CRM solution. Additionally, we are adding analytics, a marketing performance platform and an efficient logistics management to ensure the customer gets an unrivalled experience in convenience. Mobile is going to be central to our tech development.”
How it Works
Wassup picks up the laundry on demand and brings it to the washing center. It then inspects and tags clothes according to its washing instructions. After which the clothes are washed, ironed and delivered back.
Wassup target audience includes personnel who don’t have time and support system for washing. Besides, the clienteles of Wassup includes B2B customers like Taj Vivanta, Raddison, The Oberoi, IIT Mardras, VIT, Indian Navy and Mahindra WorldCity amongst others.
Balachandar R, co-founder & CEO, Wassup, said, “We are looking at servicing the daily laundry requirements of middle class Indian consumers which is currently being addressed by a maid servant or by self-wash. The potential to move unorganized offline business to organized online convenience is huge. We are seeing a good opportunity and want to be the market leaders in the segment in India and are happy to have Arun and Praveen onboard with us on this journey to be the leading brand in convenience services. We will be adding additional interesting convenience services in the near future”.
The startup has plans to add personal care, home care, car care, pet care and handyman services to its portfolio through its technology platform in the near future making it a truly comprehensive managed marketplace platform for on-demand consumer convenience. It also plans to offer services in Pune & Cochin.
According to a report by consulting firm KPMG, the organized laundry market in India is currently around INR 5,000 Cr. The organized laundry market includes the new entrants like mywash, laundrywala who are trying to push the limits beyond.