Laundrapp, one of a plethora of on-demand laundry startups targeting London and other cities in the U.K., has acquired rival Washbox.
Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, so it’s not clear if this represents a successful exit for the young startup or its investors, which include the U.K. ‘pre-seed’ accelerator Ignite. It’s my understanding, however, that this was an all-cash deal and that it actually closed last month.
Either way, the on-demand laundry and dry cleaning space is certainly ripe for some consolidation. Aside from Laundrapp and Washbox, other Uber-styled on-demand laundry apps operating in the U.K. include ZipJet (founded by Rocket Internet, the ruthless startup factory and e-commerce behemoth), Lavanda, and Spyn (backed by Telefonica’s Wayra accelerator).
There’s also ihateironing.com, which partners with local dry cleaners who handle collection and delivery, but under the ihateironing brand, and LaundryRepublic, which operates a 24-hour “locker-based laundry and dry cleaning service”, negating the need for a customer to be home for pickup and delivery.
In the official announcement of Laundrapp’s acquisition of Washbox, the latter’s CEO and co-founder Danny Vaughton says the company is “thrilled to be part of the Laundrapp family,” but concedes that it was a “tough decision” to sell.
“Laundrapp is a worthy leader in this emerging market and we’re thrilled to have played a part in its journey,” he adds.
Notice the past tense? Only one of Washbox’s four founders and team, James Parker (former Washbox COO), is staying on as part of the acquisition. The Washbox app will also be shuttering and its customers invited to download and transition to the Laundrapp app shortly.
Meanwhile, Dominic Perks, Chairman of Laundrapp, says in a statement: “We’re re-inventing an industry untouched by digital and now leading the inevitable consolidation in the on-demand sector. Comparisons with Uber and talk of another British unicorn are of course exciting but our team are firmly focused on delighting customers.”
Did he say “unicorn”? I nearly just spat tea on my freshly dry-cleaned shirt.