Frenetic weekdays and lazy weekends. The life goes around like this for most of the working professionals, or bachelors living away from their homes. And in this hustle bustle, one has to do laundry, which is not only boring, but also time consuming and laborious. Where, with maids doing it, there are hygiene and security concerns, everytime dry cleaning goes heavy on pocket.
In order to ease this out, alumni of IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta and IIFT New Delhi viz. Manuj Khurana, Divya Aggarwal and Chetan Malhotra, came up with Laundrywala.co.in. It was launched in January this year. The Noida based online on-demand laundry service aims at providing high quality laundry services coupled with customized experience and express delivery. The startup is mentored by Abhinav Arya, owner of FabcarePvt. Ltd. and Sushil Gupta, VP and MD at Atrenta, India.
What It Does For You!
At Laundrywala, one can opt for services such as Wash and Fold, Drycleaning and Steam Ironing and other value added services such as Starching, Charak, Saree polishing and Bags cleaning. The order can be placed online or on a call by choosing online payment or COD. In case of some personal preferences, one can notify the same by including a note in with the bag of items or by typing their request in the ‘Special Instructions’ field of the order screen while placing order.
The pickups and drops are free and are done in suitable time slots. The consumers can either pay per wash which starts from INR 25 or can opt for monthly packages categorised into Single, Couple and Family, ranging between INR 999 to INR 2399.
The founders claim to have experienced professionals along with the use of latest technology machines and internationally standardized chemicals for quality cleaning. With an installed capacity of 1500 Kg per day, the clean laundry is delivered directly from a centralized unit. The delivery takes less than 24hrs for express orders and 48hrs for regular orders. The team is in the process of launching same-day delivery.
The target consumer base for Laundrywala includes Households, Hotels, Spas & Saloons, and College Hostels. Their current clientele includes brands such as Park Plaza, Waves, WOW and Corporate Guest Houses, etc.
A Quick Look on Laundry Sector
- The demand for organized laundry industry in India for 2007-2012 period was estimated to be INR 5200 Cr ($811 Mn) as per a KPMG study.
- The unorganized sector was estimated to be around INR 2,00,000 Cr ($31 Bn) which needs to be professionally managed. Additionally, the demand coming from people handling laundry at home was estimated to be additional INR 1300-2600 Cr
- There is scarcity and inaccessibility of good laundry service providers with timely delivery. Thus, a huge demand for “On demand service” by busy professionals.
- The market is growing in double digits annually.
Market Opportunity, Current Traction and Plans Ahead
As per facts, the population of Noida is expected to grow to 17 lakhs by 2022 from current 6.42 Lakh. With busier lifestyles, growing incomes and time constraints, there lies an approximately $6.2 Mn (INR 40 Crores) market for cashing in. This market is further expected to reach $10.14 Mn (INR 65 Crores), in the next five years.
“If you look at our customers, they are working professionals typically in the age-bracket of late 20s and the 30s. They earn well, care about personal hygiene and appearance, but don’t really have time for chores such as laundry. And this audience is growing exponentially,” said Divya.
“We have been growing 40% month-on-month since our launch in January 2015, hitting INR 8 Lakhs in gross sales in the month of July and cumulative 7-month sales of 30 Lakhs. The growth has primarily been driven by the number of orders, growing at 38% month-on-month hitting 2200+ orders in July. We have served nearly 4,000 unique customers in these 7 months,” claimed Divya.
The founders have narrowed down focus on a very niche 9,000 crore market in top 5 cities of India for first 2 years. In the first leg of their strategy, they aim to establish a strong hold over NCR by end of 2015 and in second leg, expand to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad by end of 2016. “To achieve this, we are pivoting our model to a hybrid structure – a combination of marketplace and owned model where our own units will serve as strategic investments and marketplace will help us expand at a rapid pace. To fuel that growth, the company is looking at raising a Pre-Series A round of $ 1 Mn,” added Manuj.
Competition and Challenges
The founders admit to face competition from 3 quarters – 1) dhobis, 2) conventional players such as Jyothi fabcare, and 3) few on-demand startups. Well, as they say, dhobis come with a set of challenges they are solving for – hygiene, convenience, mostly ironing focused, etc. And traditional players are organized around B2B markets and are not consumer oriented, taking 7-10 days to serve a B2C customer. “The closest competitors are similar on-demand startups, where we are better off with our consumer-centric approach –captive capacity that ensures quality, agile logistics with better time response, and inclusive affordable prices,” said Chetan.
Chetan further added that presently the 2 way logistics (pick-up and drop) coupled with the traffic-choked metros poses a challenge, both in terms of costs and delivery times. “We are experimenting with a couple of innovations to tackle this.”
Other Startups In On-Demand Laundry Space
Like all other Hyper-Local services, the laundry space has also tracked in many startups resulting in price wars and high competition. Some of the major startups in this space include:
- MyWash – Based in Bangalore, founded by BITS Pilani and YIF alumni, viz. Silus, Raghu and Balaji, in July 2014 and claimed to be the first on-demand laundry service of India.The consumers can place orders on web as well as via MyWash mobile app. The pricing starts at INR 19 and then goes upward. The startup has been able to grab 50,000 orders, as mentioned on the site and has recently raised an undisclosed amount in seed fund.
- Wassup – Owned by Laundry Project Pvt. Ltd., Wassup is a brainchild of Balachandar R. and Durga Das, Managing Partner of Das Star Ventures, which was launched in 2011. This Bangalore based startup currently provides its services in 4 cities viz. Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Cochin. Apart from door to door pick up service, it also has 30 pick up points, where customers can drop their clothes. The orders can be placed via its app. Initially it started with a seed investment of INR 4 Crore from Das Star Ventures and an institutional funding of INR 4 crore from Canara Bank. The founders recently raised a Pre-Series A round of USD 2 Mn from the Co-founders of Jabong, Arun Chandramohan and Praveen Sinha.
- Pick My Laundry – This New Delhi based startup was launched by three IIT alumni viz. Gaurav Agrawal, Ankur Jain, and Samar Sisodia at the start of this year. It is currently providing services in Delhi and Gurgaon region. Apart from usuals, it also provides services such as Starching, Bleaching and Shoe Servicing. The minimum pricing ranges between INR 50 to INR 70 and then goes up, depending upon the service taken and type of clothing.
Some others laundry services include JetSetClean, Dhobionline, Speedclean, Bueno India, QuickClean and more.
With on demand delivery services gaining hype, the scenario is almost similar to when ecommerce first got introduced in the country. Today, the first movers in the laundry space are busy tackling the price wars as resources are limited. While the new startups are trying to include value added services in order to be a step ahead. Thus, it would be worth watching how this space grows in the upcoming years. Whether we will see more shutdowns, acquisitions and amalgamations, with power residing in hands of few brands? Or this space will give an almost equal share of success pie to all?