Soon customers in Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and up through Brooklyn Heights will be able to manage their laundry delivery service via an iOS app, by way of Cleanly. The service will expand there in next two to four weeks, Tom Harari, the CEO, told Technically Brooklyn.
Cleanly is a bootstrapped Park Slope based startup founded by Harari, Itay Forer and Chen Atlas. Harari said, “It’s important to make clear that we’re not a laundry company. We’re a laundry logistics company.”
You can only place orders with the company over the iOS app now, but Harari told us via email that a web based order platform should go live in a week or so. It will be mobile responsive, too, so Android users can take advantage of the service via mobile.
Cleanly first began testing a minimum viable product version of their product in October 2013. The app went into the app store the first week of March.
Harari believes that the distinction between laundry and laundry logistics will be critical to its ability to grow aggressively. The consumer, however, will just see it as a laundry company. Users will place the order with Cleanly, who will pick it up and bring it back. You will probably never know just where your laundry went, but Harari argues that consumers really don’t care about that. As long as it comes back in good shape and the process is managed conveniently.
In other words, New York City laundromats can do your laundry well, Harari argues. It’s dropping it off, getting it back and paying for it that’s a problem. Cleanly believes there’s a large group of urbanites who will pay a premium to make that easier. FlyCleaners, another laundry delivery company we’ve covered in Brooklyn and started its services in North Brooklyn, agrees.
As Harari and his cofounders began studying this market, they found that three factors really mattered to consumers: price, quality of the work and delivery flexibility.
For the market Cleanly is targeting — busy urban professionals — that delivery flexibility is the most important.
Cleanly is tracking everything it can to make more and more precise predictions about when it can pick up and drop off a laundry order. The more narrow they can accurately get that window to be, the happier their customers will be, said Harari.
To learn the market, the founders canvassed laundry operations all over Manhattan, from 112th St. down, nearly every place in the city. They are doing the same work now in Brooklyn. They learned a lot about the laundry business doing this and realized that the business’s real gap isn’t doing laundry, but laundry’s convenience.
The iOS app is live now and the company is working on a courier facing app. For now, its part time couriers work using an SMS system. When they are available, couriers get notifications about where to go to pick up a load and where to take it. It also has a back-end system that’s taking in all the data points it can, including which buildings have doormen and which buildings are walkups, to make the information it gives consumers more precise.
Cleanly launched first serving the Upper West Side and will expand to the Upper East Side in a week. After that, the company will begin serving Brooklyn. The company hopes to have reached all the parts of New York with a strong population of professionals by the end of the year. From there, it would like to expand to other cities. The team is likely to begin seeking investors soon.-30-