Sitting Down with Tumble
Tumble, a San Francisco laundry startup founded in 2019, is making waves in the technology world in their effort to make doing laundry a simpler, more modern experience. Their proprietary technology has created a smart laundry system with a menu of valuable, convenient features, including a mobile app that displays machines available for use, enables remote machine locking, and allows cashless payments, with machine reservation in the works. It even has predictive maintenance and an incredibly responsive support team.
Tumble has been a partner of the Veritas Innovations team for the last two years, receiving nothing but praise from our colleagues for the founding team and their laundry machines. The laundry startup reached out to Veritas Innovations in 2020, searching for an established partner to test their tech-enabled laundry machines and receive critical feedback from its primary stakeholders: residents and property managers. Veritas became Tumble’s first multifamily partner shortly thereafter, transforming shared laundry rooms into best-in-class smart amenities for Veritas residents.
Following an initial deployment, beta testing, and a long list of improvements, that first set of washing and drying machines provided by Tumble set a foundation for us to grow together. Our property managers — who reach out to Tumble directly to replace their old washing and drying machines with modern smart laundry — have installed over 60 machines across more than a dozen properties to create a mobile-first, secure, and optimized laundry experience for our residents.
We spoke with Scott Patterson, Founder & CEO of Tumble, about his founding experience and what Tumble has to offer.
The Who Behind Tumble
Could you give us a quick breakdown of who you are and your role as Tumble’s founder & CEO?
I was born in Northern California and grew up around the SF Bay Area and Mendocino. After high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps Infantry. I completed my first tour with a combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi freedom. After that tour, I changed to the reserves and served out of San Bruno, CA while attending college. Post my degree in Biochemistry, I worked for Genentech and then Accenture.
I started Tumble because of my own experiences living in San Francisco with shared laundry. It blew me away how bad the experience was, and I lived through it all. Inconvenient card systems, constantly broken machines, wildly slow response times, and eventually, the theft of our card machine out of the wall, which took three months to replace and left us using the laundromat around the corner. At Tumble, we have an extreme focus on the user, the person actually doing their laundry, because those stories are our roots.
About Tumble: The Modern, Smart Laundry Experience
How does your technology improve the resident experience and what kind of reactions and feedback have you received up to today?
Tumble’s focus is the resident experience, especially around a chore that most hate. Laundry is such a simple thing that touches everyone’s lives. If we could make it just a little bit better, it would have a huge impact. We found that we could make the experience significantly better and are working towards our mission of ending laundry day. Tumble’s platform is all about removing the friction of sharing something like a washer and dryer, while keeping those machines running and available. The feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. Since we are so connected, we solve problems extremely quickly when they are unanticipated and, even better, solve problems before they happen.
What is an example of resident feedback that you have received that has impacted how you deploy or develop your product?
Residents want to be able to connect with someone when they are in need. Traditionally this would mean having a lumbering customer support and service network, but we’ve prioritized connecting users to real life smart laundry techs within moments via an in-app support chat feature. We also use predictive maintenance and real-time machine telemetry to solve problems before they happen. Residents continuously thank us for our ability to personalize and focus on them, instead of moving them through some sort of support queue as fast as possible. This ends up being a critical part of our platform and the feedback is what drives our continuation in this direction.
How can property managers help to ensure your product creates the best experience and impact for residents?
The best part about Tumble for property managers is that Tumble takes care of all resident interaction surrounding the laundry facilities, essentially taking the laundry room burden off the shoulders of management. Should a resident reach out to management about the laundry facilities, it is most impactful when the property manager encourages the resident to reach out to Tumble directly.
Creating Value for Those in Need
Last year, Veritas partnered with Apartment List to provide housing for Afghanistan refugee families. We’ve helped three families resettle in one of our Oakland buildings.
As luck would have it, the building housing these families was in need of new washing and drying machines in the common area laundry rooms. Who other than Tumble to help fill in the empty space? As a U.S. Marines veteran, Scott was more than happy to connect with the families and assist them in learning how to use Tumble’s laundry machines, even providing gift baskets filled with laundry essentials and providing laundry credit, allowing the families to use Tumble for free.
You recently helped our Afghan families settle in with Tumble’s new laundry machines. Could you tell us more about this experience?
I’m a Marine and an infantry veteran of Operation Iraqi freedom. Supporting our allies who supported us on the ground is personally important. Imagine having to flee the US to a place where you know almost no one and have no resources. It’s a privilege to support these families in conjunction with Veritas in our own small way. It’s also a testament to the ease of use of Tumble where a family from Afghanistan can immediately download the app and use the platform with little problem.
As you think about the future of apartment living, what excites you the most?
Apartment living and renting are directly tied to population growth. It is super exciting to build technology that influences how we will live in the future. What excites me the most is the investment and movement in making our lives easier through where we live. There’s so much room to improve around resident experience, sustainability, and equity.