Uber-for-laundry startup Washio wants to make its on-demand service ubiquitous in cities across the U.S. Now available in just Los Angeles and San Francisco, the company is looking to expand aggressively this year. To do that, it’s raised $2.25 million in a celeb-filled seed round and is pushing an enterprise product.
The funding was led by Pejman Mar Ventures, but includes a number of other investors such as Sherpa Ventures, Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, Three Six Zero Group, Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary, Ron Burkle, Nas, Anthony Saleh, Larry Rudolph, Jay Brown, Zod Nazem, Troy Carter, Scooter Braun, Yael Cohen, Tom Ryan, and Frank Cooper. Washio had previously raised $550,000 in a seed round, bringing total funding to $2.8 million.
Washio provides a mobile app that lets its users schedule laundry pickup and delivery from their phones, providing the convenience of wash-and-fold or dry cleaning with a 24-hour turnaround. It doesn’t wash the clothes itself — instead contracting that part out to third-party laundry facilities — but it does do all the pickup, drop-off and fulfillment, and handles payments directly from the mobile phone.
Washio launched in Los Angeles, but expanded to San Francisco a few months ago. Since then, it’s seen pretty tremendous growth. The two markets are already almost on par with each other, despite L.A.’s early lead. According to founder Jordan Metzner, the company has expanded the number of zones that drivers make pickups and deliveries in, and even had to switch to a 36-hour turnaround at one point to catch up with demand. (It’s now back to 24-hour service, thank gawd.)
Fun fact: Washio’s growth has come at the same time that Y Combinator-backed on-demand laundry competitor Prim shut down. Whether you want to claim coincidence or causality is up to you.
Anyway, with the company going full steam ahead in San Francisco, Washio’s new funding will be used to help expand into other markets. Metzner says the company is preparing for entry into a third city, but would not say where. But overall, it’s looking to tackle five to 10 new cities this year.
Washio is also looking to grow its enterprise business. Not all of its washings come from lazy individuals spending their own money — the startup has succeeded in recruiting a number of other startups to sign up and offer Washio credits to their employees.
In the same way that some companies have handed out Uber credits for commuting, or Exec credits for anything else, Washio has enabled employers to make laundry an employee perk. It’s signed up a few pilot clients already, but is opening its enterprise offering up more widely.