It’s an era of start-ups. Every now and then new ideas and innovations are hitting the minds of young entrepreneurs which eventually become the base of these start-ups which are emerging on an everyday basis. One of the aforementioned brilliant ideas struck the mind of a team of two entrepreneurs of Chennai – Durga Das & Balachandar R. The idea was to make money out of a dirty business of washing clothes. It may sound vague but they actually pushed this into reality and today this foggy idea of theirs has been successfully converted into a start-up worth $5.7 million – Wassup Laundry.
About The Founder(s):
Madras University graduate, majored in commerce, Balachandar R is known as a successful entrepreneur, marketing and retail professional and leather connoisseur. He, later in 2002, completed MPIB International Business, a joint program with Indian Institute of Foreign Trade from PSG College of Technology. He was a trainee at Tata International where he worked on market research and business development to Lunch “Donna Elena” an Italian luxurious leather accessories brand in India. He has also managed Key Accounts and Exports in Paharpur Industries Ltd. And has also worked as the Head of Retail Business at Hidesign. Prior to launching Wassup he had worked for Trilogy Retail as Partner and Marketing Head, HSIPL as Director of Business Development, BARON Ventures as Principal Consultant. He is also known as the Founder and Honorary President of NextGen Retailers Forum which was launched in November, 2014.
In 2012, a team of two entrepreneurs in Chennai started this on-demand laundry service named Wassup Laundry with an initial seed investment of $500k. Wassup is technically India’s first neighbourhood friendly laundry and dry cleaning service. Moreover, it is affordable and even offers add-on services such as free home pick-ups and deliveries. Wassup isn’t a firm that hires dhobis (people who wash clothes), rather it is a professionally run start-up which uses state of the art machinery and skilled fabric experts who not only ensure utmost care of the garments they deal with but even care about other factors such as hygiene. Currently, there work about 250 people in this company but the company wishes to push the number even forward as it extends the boundaries of its operations in the coming time. It currently offers services only in select cities of Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mysore and Kochi. Uber’s growth over the years has been a role model for most of the start-ups lately but Wassup intends to follow the footprints of our very own home-grown brand Amul. “Laundry is a highly unorganized sector with high disparity in quality, processes and systems. That is why we need to go the Amul way to solve the problems of the industry at the grass root level and develop the ecosystem as well”, said Balachandar R in a recent interview conducted by The Economic Times.
Coming to the investment drive of Wassup, it has had 3 rounds of funding. An initial seed worth $500k in 2012 followed by $2 million in 2015 followed by $3.2 million in 2017; the lead investors being Refex Energy, Praveen Sinha, Anil Jain and Arun Chandramohan. It plans to use the funds mainly for growth and expansion projects and even for making their services more efficient and better off. Balachandar says his vision is to make Wassup Laundry a consumer brand over the coming years so that the highly unorganized laundry industry of India can be transformed into an organized one with no middlemen and extra costs for the consumers. We wish him good luck for all his future endeavours!
Laundry industry in the country only has about 3-4% organized laundry service providers presently which make it a sector of extremely high potential. This is the reason of inception of Wassup. Keeping its eyes on this scale, Wassup aims to go an expansion spree in a couple of months which means opening 15-20 stores every month post October or November. The main aim is to increase its presence from 30 to 300 distribution centres in the next two years, which would lead Wassup one step closer to its IPO dream. Wassup’s work model is simple yet efficient. Customers arrange for a pickup through the official app or phone. Then a pickup is scheduled followed by washing/dry cleaning ultimately followed by delivery of clothes at the doorstep. Wassup has a way with the market because of which it follows a no-discount policy and still snatches a pretty good share out of it.
It works for the people , for their convieniency and the employees , customers, vendors and the community at large , through the work , ideology and positivity and create a better world for all stake holders.