Laundrapp: Edward Relf

The on-demand tech start-up's founder discusses challenging traditional markets through digital and seed round investment success

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Name: Edward Relf
Company name: Laundrapp
Location: Greater London 
Date launched: 17/01/15
Number of employees: 12

Tell us what your business does:

Laundrapp is an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service that simplifies lives by bringing our London-based service to consumers’ doors.

Users can get their laundry and dry-cleaning done simply and conveniently through our quality door-to-door collection and delivery service – making washing machines a thing of the past.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

The original inspiration came from our chairman, Dominic Perks, a serial entrepreneur. After discussing the idea and quickly validating the concept with our peer groups we formalised a founding team and set up the business.

The team now consists of a number of London’s leading digital professionals with experience from across the technology start-up landscape.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We spent a number of months validating the concept with both our immediate peer groups and then completed wider consumer testing prior to launching the business.

The laundry and dry cleaning market is one of the few industries yet to be disrupted by this digital revolution, and through the emerging mobile on-demand ecosystem it was a natural fit for us.

In October we soft launched Laundrapp and since then spent a number of weeks tweaking and refining the service until it was ready for a full London-wide launch, so far we’re absolutely thrilled with the early response.

What were you doing before starting up?

The founding team all have great experience in technology start-ups such as Groupon, Just Eat, and Mind Candy. Personally I’ve worked in digital for over 15 years, having launched a number of successful global services.

More recently I’ve focused my time on mentoring early-stage, digital start-up teams and other non-executive roles focused around entrepreneurship and growth marketing.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I’ve been lucky that in the past decade, I had instrumental roles in building companies and launching digital services across the world. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and love the challenge of disrupting both existing and emerging markets and thanks to this digital revolution it’s never been an easier time to start!

Founding your own start-up is extremely challenging and it certainly is not for everyone; however if you have the passion, commitment, vision and a great team alongside you then it can be extremely rewarding.

How did you raise the money?

I am pleased to say we have the backing of a number of fantastic angel investors, including the likes of Rupert Hambro (former Chairman of Hambros Bank and Founding Partner of Hambro Perks) and entrepreneur Dominic Perks, who strongly believes in the vision of Laundrapp.

We’ve successfully closed two seed investment rounds of £1.5m and plan to raise further investment soon so that we can deliver on our ambitions to expand the company further.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Users order our services through the app (Android, iPhone or Tablet) and these orders are simply passed onto our facilities and driver teams who then collect, clean and deliver orders directly to the customer.

Like most successful digital services it’s a simple business model that meets a very specific consumer need, and the reaction to both the product and service has been outstanding.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is simply re-educating customers in a new way to now manage their weekly laundry & dry cleaning.

Much like other digital on-demand services it takes a level of time to inform new consumer habits, but once people ‘get it’ they stick and it changes this and simplifies the lives of our customers.

What was your first big breakthrough

I’m not sure if it’s fair to talk about breakthroughs just yet. We’re extremely pleased with the progress of the business, operations, product development and marketing but we’ve got a long way to go.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

I think the best advice I can give (albeit cliche) is to stay scrappy and move quickly. I’m very much a perfectionist by nature and in this digital age moving quickly and out-learning your competitors is the key to success.

I very much buy into the “Build, Measure, Learn” approach and for new start-ups it’s the companies that learn quickest and adapt their approach usually become most successful.

If you aren’t breaking things, likelihood you’re not moving fast enough!

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

It’s critical to remain nimble, lean and agile particularly in such a fluid and ever evolving digital market but we certainly have aspirations for how to continually simplify the lives of people through smart digital and on-demand solutions.

We’re ambitious, creative and entrepreneurial; and we want to disrupt and create new consumer behaviour around laundry & dry cleaning.

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