Hotel dry-cleaning is the absolute worst. Seriously. Have you ever attempted to get clothes cleaned on the road? You’ll routinely end up paying $10-15 per shirt. As someone who travels a lot for business, I’ve found myself seeking out local 24-hour cleaners to cut out the middle men.
But Presso, one of a number of startups that took the stage at the Rise conference in Hong Kong this week, has developed a novel way to put dry cleaning in the hands of hotel guests. The Indiana-based startup is the brainchild of Purdue graduates Nishant Jain and Thibault Corens. The pair have developed a sort of dry cleaning vending machine designed to live in hotel hallways.
Guests looking for a quicker, cheaper clean swipe a card and manually enter the specifics of the garment they need cleaned (future updates will use a combination of AI and computer vision to identify clothes, but for now that’s left up to the user). From there, the system takes over, cleaning and pressing clothes in around five minutes, using steam and cleaning fluids.
The system is also able to clean clothes with considerably less water and electricity than traditional washing. Though Jain notes that stains are still a blind spot for the system. Presso isn’t designed to remove those — instead, it’s set up for a quick clean and press, ahead of a business meeting.
The kiosk is currently being piloted in 16 hotels in the Midwest, including several Holiday Inns. Jain tells TechCrunch that the locations are already looking to move fully to Presso systems for the sake of added convenience — and to cut out the time and difficulty of working with outside dry cleaners to deal with guest laundry.
So far the startup has raised $261,000, primarily from HAX. Its founders will be seeking additional fundraising later this year.