To help his mom handle the piles of laundry in 2017, then-17-year-old Nachshon Fertel created an app. What started as a solution in a Pikesville home has become the company SudShare, and expanded to over 400 cities.
With five kids, Ari Fertel was having trouble keeping up with laundry at their Pikesville home. She considered the other services that were made easier with technology, like hailing a ride, FaceTiming someone around the world or depositing a check through an app.
But Fertel’s husband, Mort, an entrepreneur, considered that the last true innovation in the laundry space — the washer and dryer —sat idle most of the time. Nachshon set out to built an app in 2017, and in 2018, rolled it out beyond the family’s household. Nachshon’s now 20 years old, and the app has bloomed into startup SudShare, a tech-enabled laundry service — Uber for laundry, if you will. Mort Fertel is the company’s CEO.
Like the tech companies it puts itself in a category with, SudShare has a big vision that aims to go beyond a laundry service: “Our goal is to make your washer and dryer obsolete,” Mort Fertel told Technical.ly. “If you imagine a world where people turn their laundry room into a storage closet because they’re outsourcing to save each week, that’s really our goal.”
The process is designed to be simple: users tap a couple preferences, bag up their laundry, denote a pickup space at their home, then leave it to be taken. A Sudster then completes the wash-dry-fold process laundry at their home, and returns it the next day. Customers leave a rating, and the Sudsters who receive high ratings get access to more orders.
The business has grown dramatically in the pandemic, which Mort Fertel attributes to dynamics on both sides of the company’s marketplace.
On one hand, there are folks who want to pass off the task of doing laundry to someone else, and are willing to pay a dollar per pound to do so. With the shifts of the last year, time has risen even higher as a priority in people’s minds. Ultimately, that’s what the company is selling, he said.
“People are asking…How do I want to spend my precious time here on Earth? And I don’t know anyone who answers the question, ‘I want to do my laundry,'” Mort Fertel said.
On the other, there are folks working at home, who are willing to make some extra money doing that laundry — specifically, 75-cents of the dollar-per-pound, plus tips. The company now has more than 50,000 Sudsters, as it calls these independent contractors.
Based locally out of an office on Falls Road, the company is a family business. With Mort Fertel leading as CEO, Nachshon is CTO, and is continuing to grow the company while in school. His triplet counterparts are also involved: Moshe Fertel is COO and Shira Fertel handles the books. The family splits time in Salt Lake City, as well. In all, there are 17 team members.
After launching in 2018, the company started expansion regionally, first to DC and Norfolk in what was effectively beta mode. The major geographic expansion has come in the last year, and the service is now available in many US cities.
It’s seeing the scaling that a startup aims to achieve, and is now looking to take a next step. It’s all aimed at “reorienting the way people view their laundry and how to deal with it,” Mort Fertel said.-30-