Startups 100 company secures £500k funding in 15 hours

The UK green-tech startup raised half a million pounds in a public crowdfunder, and aims to clean up the washing and dry cleaning sector.

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Oxwash, the eco-friendly laundromat that ranked in the top 50 for this year’s Startups 100 index, has raised £500,000 in equity investment through a public crowdfunder.

Putting a sustainable spin on laundry, Oxwash, the UK-based startup is backed by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. It was founded in 2018 by ex-NASA scientist and Forbes Europe’s 30 under 30 alumni, Dr Kyle Grant, alongside Oxford engineer Tom de Wilton.

The successful seed round saw the duo secure £250,000 in just 15 hours from five angel investors, in addition to another quarter of a million from 318 public Crowdcube investors.

Last month, Oxwash joined the list of exciting sustainable startups that made our Startups 100 index, which celebrates the most disruptive new businesses in the UK, in recognition of its innovation and stellar growth.

Cleaning up the planet and your clothes

Oxwash uses water-saving ozone technology to sanitise fabrics with biodegradable detergents at low temperatures. It also makes use of electric cargo bikes to ensure a hyper-local zero-emission logistics footprint.

Dr Kyle Grant, chief executive of Oxwash, said: “Our team is not only developing chemistry that works at 20˚C better than at 40˚C or higher, but we have integrated water reclamation and reduction technology into our process so that saves up to 60% of the water consumption versus you washing at home or any other typical commercial washing service. There is a growing awareness and appetite for green washing services  –  and we’re confident that Oxwash can clean up and deliver substantial returns.”

As the UK’s first sustainable on-demand laundry service, Oxwash says it has grown more than tenfold since the start of the pandemic.

Sustainable startups making ground

Sustainable companies have been booming as a result of increased awareness of the climate threat, and the UK’s push towards a 2050 net zero target.

The UK industrial laundry sector processes approximately 743,651 tonnes of laundry a year alone. Just the water requirement alone uses the volume of Lake Windermere (360 billion litres) to clean clothes at home.

Oxwash says it is the world’s first truly sustainable laundry and dry cleaning company in the world, and is aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions for its entire laundry process and supply chain.

Oxwash is also deploying microfiber filtration technology to remove more than 95 percent of fibres shed during washing, preventing plastic pollution from reaching waterways and drinking water.

Earlier in the year, Oxwash received a £2.08m raise in June 2021 from committed investors including Beyond Meat investors Future Positive Capital (NYC/SF), who invest in “businesses solving the world’s most pressing problems”.

Growth plans

The responsible laundry firm now has more than 8,000 individual customers, alongside clients such as the Marriott Hotel Group, Hurr Collective and the NHS.

The new funds will be used to expand the service geographically by adding more 100% electric vans to the fleet, as well as continuing to engineer software and technology that will facilitate Oxwash to reach its net-zero goals.

Grant added: “Our goal was to build a wide network of shareholders who care about our purpose as much as we do and can be true ambassadors for the brand, which is why we capped the investment level at £5,000 per person.

“To witness £100k pledged in just three hours, and be able to close the round in fifteen, we’re over the moon with the outcome and level of support. We know being just another laundry app won’t cut it. Developing a model that is hyper local, carbon neutral and tech enabled – that reverses the sector’s adverse impact on the planet rather than adding to it is absolutely critical.”

Need some ideas on becoming more sustainable? Read our guide to learn more about five simple initiatives small business owners can use to reduce your carbon footprint.

Helena is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has previously written for a popular fintech startup covering everything from money-saving tips to cultural reviews.

She is particularly interested in project management software and the films of Peter Jackson.

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