How 20,000 Office Workers Have Turned To Mobile Laundry
On September 7th, Laundrygo announced that it had raised a total of 50 billion won (USD 41 million) from Korea Development Bank, Altos Ventures, DS Asset Management, Samsung Venture Investment, and Softbank Ventures during a Series B Bridge Round. Although the specific stake ratio was not disclosed, Korea Development Bank joined as a new investor, raising Laundrygo’s name as the next unicorn candidate of South Korean venture start-ups.
"Unicorn" is a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion. Kyeongchan Song, a partner of Altos Ventures, who led this investment, said, "Laundrygo has the potential to grow significantly not only in Korea but also in the global market, so I decided to participate in this investment without hesitation."
Laundrygo's founder, Seong-woo Cho, did not start as a developer, but as a publicist for a large corporation. He left the company at a young age, transformed himself into a startup entrepreneur, and took on the role of CEO of Baemin Fresh, run by the Baedal Minjok, and was reborn as a star. In 2013, it introduced the industry's first early morning fresh food delivery service and was called an icon of disruptive innovation.
Afterward, he founded a food, clothing, and shelter company with the desire to provide innovative services in those respective areas. Its first service to launch was Laundrygo. Laundrygo is a self-developed laundry collection box, which eliminates the hassle of finding a dry cleaner. The mobile service features no-contact ordering, laundry cleaning, and delivery all in one day. It has gained popularity by providing a laundry service at an affordable price, all while reducing intermediate distribution and production costs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Laundrygo rose in popularity. In addition, CEO Cho acquired 'A+ Machinery', an American laundry smart factory EPC (design, procurement, construction) company, for $3 million (about 3.32 billion won). This acquisition provided value in all areas of laundry service for the company. Despite the size of a startup, this bold investment opened the door to a multitude of new opportunities for the mobile laundry industry.
Recently, Laundrygo developed an automatic delivery system for each customer's clothes, a first for the laundry industry. Through the automatic delivery system, more than 3,000 pieces of laundry per hour, or 400 households, can be processed in real-time, dramatically increasing the delivery efficiency by more than 300% compared to methods.
Thanks to this innovation, as of last August, the number of monthly unique users reached 20,000. Although Laundrygo’s service area is still limited to the metropolitan area, there are at least 20,000 office workers in the area who regularly use Laundrygo.
In the future, Laundrygo plans to advance into the development of global laundry equipment such as washing machines, dryers, and dry-cleaning machines, as well as the construction of smart factories in cities overseas integrating their automatic delivery system. Recently, Laundrygo 2 Smart Factory was opened with its own technology in Seongsu-dong, Seoul, and it is currently serving all parts of Seoul, Ilsan, Bundang, Gimpo, and Songdo, and plans to expand the service to most of the metropolitan area within this year.
CEO Jo Seong-woo said, "We have pioneered the mobile market by overcoming the COVID-19 crisis with Laundrygo's own no-contact method in the laundry industry... We plan to lead mobile innovation and accelerate our global expansion.”
Source: Lee Soo-ho from Tech M (September 7, 2021)