Washmen, a Dubai-based dry cleaning and laundry service has raised $6.2 million in its Series B round, the startup announced today in a statement to MENAbytes. The round was led by AddVenture, a global VC based in Russia, which happens to be a returning investor and has prev. invested in Dubai-based ServiceMarket as well. The round was also joined by Germany-based leading consumer goods company Henkel, Lebanon’s Cedar Mundi Ventures and B&Y Partners and UAE’s Clara Ventures. This round takes total investment raised so far by Washmen to $7.8 million.
Founded in 2015 by Rami Shaar and Jad Halaoui, Washmen had originally started with an asset-light model connecting customers with logistics partners and existing laundromats, but now fully owns the supply chain after launch of its own 30,000 square feet laundry and dry cleaning facility last month.
Rami Shaar, the co-founder and CEO of Washmen, said, “We have traveled to 17 countries in search of what it takes to clean the items in your closet in the right way: from machines to processes and products. Our new facility, equipped with our proprietary tech, will allow us to clean up to 25,000 items a day when we are at peak utilization.”
Washmen allows users to order laundry or dry cleaning services through its mobile app (for Android or iOS) by selecting pick up and drop off times. The turnaround time is 48 hours but users also have the option of requesting next day delivery by paying 50 percent premium on the charges.
The statement by Washmen notes that its strategy to vertically integrate across the supply chain was gradual over the last 4 years which helped them improve unit economics and customer retention. The startup claims to have become the largest retail laundry and dry clean operator in the UAE.
Max Medvedev, Managing Partner at AddVenture that has invested in other on-demand laundry and dry cleaning services across the world, said, “Vertical integration is a must because it ensures the best quality of cleaning and it improves gross margins to a level that we haven’t seen anywhere in the world in this industry. They are truly innovators in this space, developing new hardware and software for dry cleaning facility and disrupting the traditional thinking about the cleaning process.”
Henkel, the German consumer goods company that has joined as a strategic investor (through its VC arm Henkel Ventures) and will contribute its experience in laundry detergents which include Persil in MENA.
Thomas Schuffenhauer, Director New Business Laundry & Home Care at Henkel, commenting on the investment, said, “We see a clear trend of consumers outsourcing more and more tasks as part of their lifestyle. Understanding this shift in consumer behavior and accompanying it with a high-quality service offering is part of our consumer-centric approach. We are very happy to have found an innovative and dynamic partner in Washmen, driving its disruptive business model in the region.”
Washmen will use the investment to solidify the operations in UAE and expand its technology development office in Beirut.
Bassel Attieh, Chairman and Managing Partner of Cedar Mundi Ventures, the Lebanese VC that joined the rounded, said, “Washmen track-record and development model are strong. Digital technology is an integral part of it, leveraging premium tech talent pool and entrepreneurial ecosystem of Lebanon for regional scale. We are glad to come aboard to advise and further accelerate Washmen expansion plans.”