Getting your car washed can be a huge pain in the city* — there’s routinely long lines and it takes forever. But for people who value the time it takes to get a car wash more than the cost, San Francisco-based Cherry is a mobile app that brings car washes to you. After a successful launch in its home market, Cherry is looking to expand, and is now opening up for business in San Diego as well.
Like other marketplace apps, Cherry uses mobile technologies and location data to facilitate odd jobs that users don’t want to do themselves. Rather than taking their automobile to a car wash, Cherry brings the car wash to them. A user enters his car’s location, model, and license plate number, either through the web or native mobile apps. Then Cherry dispatches a car wash professional to take care of the cleaning at that location. Users don’t even have to be there for the car to get washed.
Cherry launched its car-washing service in San Francisco last November, and has been growing fast ever since: It’s been doubling the number of washes (and washers) every month since launch. And it’s also expanded from serving San Francisco proper all the way down through most of Silicon Valley. With that momentum behind it, Cherry has decided to expand into a new market, and starting today will be bringing car washes to users in San Diego.
So why San Diego? Cherry co-founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden told me that the startup wants to own the Southern California market, and San Diego was a good place to start. The weather’s nice year-round, and there are about a million cars in San Diego, which makes it a huge market. San Diego also doesn’t come with a lot of the traffic and logistical problems of a city like Los Angeles, although VanderZanden L.A. is a pretty good bet for its next next market.
While it initially charged $29 at launch for interior/exterior washes, Cherry has recently revised its pricing, and now charges $25 for an exterior wash, and $35 if users want the inside cleaned as well. That’s a bit more if you’d take your car to the local drive-through car wash, but why would you want to do that when you can have someone some to you and save time?
Cherry has raised $5.25 million, including a $4.5 million round from Shasta Ventures, Founders Fund, Shervin Pishevar, and Bill Lee in April. Other investors include former PayPal employees such as Yammer CEO David Sacks, PayPal founder Max Levchin, and Square COO Keith Rabois.
* I bike everywhere, but so I’ve heard.