And it’s just the beginning…
Around time last year, our little group (Chen, Itay, and myself) started an experiment.
After working for several months on concept, design, UX, prototyping, and testing, we opened Cleanly in public beta to one neighborhood in New York City, the Upper West Side. A month later we expanded this beta service to the Upper East Side. What we learned was amazing.
Cleanly, like so many startups before it, was born out of a personal pain point of the founders. The apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn I moved in to in 2011 was perfect — sort of. It had an outdoor garden in the back, a large bedroom, and was steps from the subway. One thing it lacked however, was a washer & dryer.
Laundry for New Yorkers means either sitting in a coin laundromat or laundry room in a building, dropping off at a local ‘wash & fold’, or getting pickup service from a local laundromat. Pickup service does sound great, but unfortunately the reality looks more like limited hours of delivery, no weekend service, wide windows for pickups (think cable guy), and paying in cash. Ugh.
With Cleanly, our goal was simple.
Remove all the hassles associated with laundry & dry cleaning and give people more of their time back to do the things they love.
Our customers come from all walks of life, but they all share one thing in common — limited time. Some of our customers even have washing machines in their apartments, or on the floor of their building. Many live in doorman buildings/ But the time savings associated with sending out laundry are real. So much so that it makes little sense to do anything other than outsource it. The question then becomes, outsource to who?
What we learned from studying other markets is that the key to on-demand, especially in markets where the underlying service is commoditized (we don’t really care who cleans our clothes, as long as it gets done well), is liquidity. That’s fancy startup talk for always being available when you need it.
For Uber, that means never waiting more than 3–4 minutes for a ride. With Airbnb, it means seeing interesting photos of unique listings anywhere you search. And for Cleanly, it means having short windows for pickups from early morning till late at night, seven days a week, and then fulfilling on that promise.
Over the past year we’ve made incredible progress in forging this dream of a world where one chore that takes an incredible amount of time in your week is eliminated, at the push of a button.
Today is a new day. We’re so pumped for what’s in store in the months and years ahead.
And it’s just the beginning.