Since the launch of Laundrapp, an application that offers a home laundry service, in 2014, CEO and founder Edward Relf had his hands full. Mainly in linen.
Rapid growth saw the service expand to 100 cities across the UK. His the technology is licensed in Australia and New Zealand, and 13 more countries are expected to be added to this list by the end of the year.
“It’s busy. Very busy. Lots of clothes to wash,” says Mr. Relf.
A digital entrepreneur who describes himself with a background in marketing and early investment in tech startupsMr. Relf has adopted a business model that has seen spectacular success in other industries such as take-out and hotels.
But why the laundry?
“I often think so, too,” admits Relf. “I love nothing more than creating disruptive technology that has the potential to revolutionize an industry. When we came up with the concept of Laundrapp, we realized there was a huge opportunity to disrupt an industry that hadn’t changed for a hundred years.
In doing so, Laundrapp is following in the trail of Uber and Deliveroo, to whom Mr. Relf credits credit for shaping a receptive market for young digital delivery services like his. Laundrapp’s teenage growth spurt, he says, wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Mr. Relf’s gratitude to these pioneers probably explains the similarities in how Laundrapp works. Users can order a collection online or through the app, and Laundrapp is committed to collecting and delivering within 48 hours at £ 2.50 per kilogram. The driver is tracked to “reduce operational costs and increase productivity” while allowing customers to see where their clothes are in real time.
But while Uber and Deliveroo have faced backlash over their use of zero hour contracts, the Laundrapp brand is built around the close relationship between the company and its drivers.
“Laundrapp stands for quality and trust because we manage people’s personal belongings,” says Relf.
“The way our drivers meet and greet people is part of the Laundrapp experience. They are our showcase. For this reason, we decided early on that we could hire a much better driver just by making them employees in the company.
“We have passionate and proud drivers because they feel like they are part of the trip. We could not have created this with zero hour contracts. “
This journey is now taking place where no other on-demand laundry app has gone before. Although many have emerged in Europe and the United States, a major player has yet to emerge on a global scale. This is precisely what Laundrapp is striving to achieve in 2017.
For now though, there is one important thing that continues to stand between Laundrapp and world domination, and that is the humble washing machine.
Mr. Relf explains that, contrary to most assumptions, Laundrapp does not compete with Main Street. The app simply adds a “digital layer” on top and the company works alongside outlets to process laundry and dry cleaning. The real competitor, he says, is the washing machine.
“We want to prevent people from using the washing machine. We have to try to rethink the way people perceive the way they do their dry cleaning.
“It’s not sexy or glamorous. We have to make it sexy and glamorous, and it’s a challenge.