(Photo by Hunter Willis Photography)
SpotWash, an app-based mobile car wash and detail service, picked up $100,000 in seed funding at Accelerate Baltimore’s investor pitch night earlier this month.
The company was chosen for the additional funding from the Abell Foundation by a panel of judges at the April 18 event, which closed out the ETC-run accelerator program’s latest cohort.
Founded by Freddie Ephraim and Mike Laroque, SpotWash offers a service that allows tenants with cars in parking garages at businesses, apartment complexes and condos that are partnered with the company to get their car washed and detailed while they are asleep, or at work. To schedule a car wash in the app, users find their building, select the date and time of service and pay. To complete the car wash, the company uses a rinseless solution, which is eco-friendly.
“We wanted to make it as convenient as humanly possible,” Ephraim said of getting a car wash.
Ephraim and Laroque are now in a position where they’re eyeing growth — though they said it took a period of years to put the necessary processes in place and partner with their first building. The cofounders started by washing cars themselves, then brought on others with a model that provides pay for each individual job completed and allows people to choose when they want to work.
Now the service is available in more than 40 locations locally, and the cofounders have plans to expand to more than 100 locations by the end of 2019. Along with Baltimore, they’re also looking to expand in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
During the 13-week program, the cofounders worked to shape their business model for this growth, strengthen branding and release a second version of the app: “We would not be at the opportunity to scale without Accelerate Baltimore, period,” Ephraim said.
With the program, ETC provides six companies with $25,000 in seed funding, and brings in executives and mentors to work with the participating companies. Among them was Carl Schramm, former president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, whose book “Burn the Business Plan — What Great Entrepreneurs Really Do” served as a guide for each week’s sessions.
This year’s cohort also included the following startups:
- Blood Sweat and Gears — The startup created an automated product that spreads salt or ice melt on paths during winter months. The startup is led by Alex DelSordo and Mike Berilla.
- Mojoe Brewing — Joseph Hyman pitched the company that makes a travel-sized, portable coffee brewer. It heats water and uses capsules to prepare a cup of coffee.
- ReVased — Founded by Arielle Vogelstein and Aviva Vogelstein, the online marketplace that provides a way to repurpose flower arrangements used at weddings so they are not thrown away immediately after the event. It creates connections between people getting married, local florists and local charities.
- Vagrant Coffee — Led by CEO Josh Drew the company’s app-based service that allows customers to have specialty coffee beverages delivered at the time of their choosing.
- Gami — Olivia Nicolaus created the monthly origami subscription service, providing a package including papers, instruction booklet and scannable video instructions. It’s designed for a beginners look for an intro to the art of paper folding.
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