Cherry, a recently launched startup that brings on-demand car washes to you and your car, has raised $4.5 million in new funding from Shasta Ventures, Founders Fund, Shervin Pishevar and Bill Lee. Shasta managing partner Tod Francis will join Cherry’s Board. The startup previously raised $750,000 in seed funding from a number of ex-PayPal employees including Yammer CEO David Sacks, PayPal founder Max Levchin and Square COO Keith Rabois. In addition to the funding news, Cherry is also expanding to include their service in a total of 10 cities in the Bay Area, and releasing a new iPhone app.
Similar to Airbnb, Uber, and GetAround, Cherry is a business that wants to make our lives in the real world better using data, location and mobile technologies. Via either the web or a native iOS app (Android will be released in a month), users can specify the location of their car on a street (as well as what type of car, color and license plate number) in a parking lot, or another public area. Once you check in with your car’s location on Cherry, the service’s technology immediately finds and dispatches a car wash professional to wash your car right where you left it, and you don’t even need to be there.
Cherry charges $29 for each car wash, which includes cleaning of the car’s exterior and an air freshener. Cherry auto-charges customers’ cards after each wash so they don’t need to meet the washer to pay. Customers rate their wash, which Cherry uses as a customer’s tip and pays washers a bonus for five-star washes.
The $29 also includes an interior cleaning as well. Car owners either leave their doors unlocked or they come down to unlock when the washer arrives (Cherry will send owners a text message). The washer will lock the car up when they’re done.
In terms of insurance, every customer is covered under Cherry’s guarantee, which covers any and all accidental damages to a customer’s car. Cherry’s co-founder Travis VanderZanden (a former Yammer exec) and fellow founder Art Henry personally meet with, vet, train and supply equipment for every washer hired to wash for Cherry.
With the new version of the iOS app, Cherry implemented a UI redesign, added the ability to cancel a job without penalty, a view into a user’s Account Balance and other features.
The company says a good chunk of usage so far has been for companies using Cherry as a perk for employees, or as “random acts of car washing” to friends and colleagues, etc. Launched in San Francisco originally, Cherry is now available in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Cupertino, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Los Altos and San Jose.
The new funding will be used to expand to additional cities outside of San Francisco.
As I mentioned in my initial review of the service, Cherry solves the whole laziness problem when it comes to getting a car wash. While I’m not a huge fan of leaving my car unlocked, I would definitely try the service if it was available in my area.