Laundry service Zipjet picks up backing from Henkel and BSH

Zipjet, the on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service co-founded by Rocket Internet, has picked up further funding. Described as a “Series B extension,” the new round sees the likes of Henkel Ventures, and BSH Home Appliances Group — the combined venture of Bosch and Siemens — make a “seven-figure” investment in the company, capital it plans to use for business and product development, including beefing up data-science and marketing.

Founded in 2014 by Florian Färber and Lorenzo Franzi on behalf of Germany’s most famous startup factory, Zipjet was an early mover in the European on-demand laundry and dry cleaning space. Operating in London, Paris and Berlin, the company offers an app and website that makes it super convenient to order a range of laundry and dry cleaning services, including pickup and return delivery. Garments can be cleaned, ironed, folded and delivered to customers “in as little as 24 hours”.

In many ways Zipjet can be viewed as a direct clone of Washio in the U.S., which shuttered in 2016 before being acquired for assets by rival Rinse. In the U.K., which has also seen consolidation, competitors include Laundrapp and the lesser-known and modestly funded Laundryheap. Late last year, Zipjet itself acquired French rival Cleanio.

Despite being an extension of a previous Series B and the exact amount remaining undisclosed, Zipjet’s latest funding is noteworthy because it is being spun as a “strategic” investment in relation to Henkel Ventures (investment arm of chemical and FMCG company Henkel), and Bosch and Siemens’ BSH Home Appliances Group. “This investment is about much more than money, it’s a strategic play with some of the world’s largest producers of washing machines and detergents. We will be able to collaborate on several projects, enabling us to service more customers and develop our product offering,” says Zipjet co-founder and CEO Florian Färber.

What those “projects” will look like, Zipjet isn’t saying, although I understand one being explored in the medium to long-term is giving existing Henkel and BSH Home Appliances Group customers the option to use Zipjet for a selection of clothing that requires extra service or convenience. Other potential ideas include turning partner locations into Zipjet “drop-off and pick-up” points or licensing Zipjet’s logistics software to partners.

Adds Uwe Blanarsch-Simon, Vice President Technical Product Management at BSH Home Appliances, in a statement: “The purpose of our business is to improve the quality of life of our consumers across the globe. Our goal is to serve our consumers with innovative appliances and solutions that make their everyday life easier and more enjoyable. The cooperation with Zipjet is a perfect complement for our core business in the laundry care section”.