Startup News & Analysis

NZ startup Laundromap expands into Australia and looks to raise $3 million with its on-demand dry cleaning service

Angela Castles /

Laundromap

Laundromap co-founder Hayden Foster. Source: Supplied.

New Zealand-founded on-demand laundry delivery startup Laundromap has launched in Perth and Sydney with ambitious plans to shake up the dry cleaning space, following a successful launch at home.

The startup is now eyeing a $3 million capital raise to expand its footprint in Australia and acquire its own laundry and dry-cleaning facilities, with the aim of becoming “the first standardised, national, ‘on demand’ dry cleaning brand”.

The Laundromap concept was born after its co-founder Adam Plowman grew tired of taking his dry cleaning in to work each day and wondered if there was a better solution.

“He [Plowman] got sick and tired of forgetting to pick his laundry up and drop it off, so he went about researching some sort of pick up service to get a little bit of time back in his day and get that job off his list,” Laundromap co-founder Hayden Foster tells StartupSmart.

After doing a bit of research, Plowman found some good examples overseas, but still couldn’t find a startup offering these services back home. Seeing a gap in the market, Plowman, Foster and fellow co-founder Sam MacDonald jumped on the opportunity, and after a period of market testing and validation Laundromap was founded in early 2016.

The startup allows consumers to outsource their dry-cleaning and laundry by offering home or office pickup and delivery seven days a week between the hours of 7am-10am — an offering that’s already proved popular with users in New Zealand.

The startup says its app has been downloaded more than 15,000 times since launching in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch at the end of last year. Foster hopes to replicate this success with its rollout in Perth, which took place in May this year, and in Sydney, which commenced this week.

Laundromap is now looking to launch in Melbourne and Brisbane late this year or early next year, and has plans of “aggressively expanding our footprint” in the country before potentially tackling new markets in Asia, Foster says.

The startup is already growing at a monthly rate of 30% in terms of order volume and revenue, and Foster says it will be rapidly growing its current team of 10 managers and 30-40 drivers to keep up with demand for the service as it ramps up its Sydney offerings.

“Bringing dry cleaning into the 21st century”

The dry-cleaning industry is a sector that generally “doesn’t employ tech very well”, according to Foster, which is why Laundromap sees itself as “bringing the dry cleaning industry into the 21st century” with its online, customer-service oriented offerings.

“There are [laundry] pickup collection services all over the show but we really see technology as being a big enabler for making that more efficient and effective,” Foster says. 

“The market is really ready for it. If you look at adoption of food delivery services they are proliferating and getting really good traction, because everyone is now comfortable with doing everything on your phone.” 

While Laundromap’s offerings may seem akin to the Deliveroo or Uber for dry cleaning, Foster is quick to eliminate any parallels between these services and his startup’s offerings.

“One of the key things we focused on early on was to look at the different [on-demand] models and almost immediately we discounted that Uber model where you’ve got independent contracters,” he says. 

Foster says when it comes to handling people’s prized dresses and best suits, a personal, trustworthy and reliable approach was needed.

“We work really hard to recruit the right drivers who are really engaged and big on customer service,” he says.

“People are entrusting us with their valuable clothes … it’s really critical to own that customer experience.”

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Angela Castles

Angela Castles was a former Journalist at StartupSmart.

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