ZipJet: Lorenzo Franzi

The start-up founder on tech challenges and utilising professionals' lack of time and hatred of laundry to build a global on-demand service business

Name: Lorenzo Franzi
Company name: ZipJet
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 03/11/14
Number of employees: 22
Website: www.zipjet.co.uk

Tell us what your business does:

ZipJet is an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service that collects, washes and delivers clothes within 24 hours. You download our app from Google Play or Apple App store, schedule thirty minute collection and delivery slots convenient for you and we take care of the rest.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

We understand how difficult it can be to manage household chores whilst running a family, focusing on your career and keeping up with your friends.

Laundry is a never-ending chore and frankly no one enjoys doing it. So we thought we would start a company that gives you more free time so that you can focus on what matters to you.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We did some research on laundry habits in London. We discovered that 4% of British households don’t have a washing machine – for single households this rises to 10%. With the number of launderettes in the UK decreasing rapidly, we realised that there was definitely a gap in the market for on-demand laundry in the capital.

In addition, having lived in London as banker and consultant, I was constantly confronted with finding no convenient solutions for laundry and dry cleaning.

What were you doing before starting up?

I worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. Before that I worked with a start-up called Voice.ee in business development in Paris and New York, and spent four years at JP Morgan in London.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes! Since I was young I wanted to create a meaningful business and take responsibility and ownership of it. I want to create a sustainable and profitable business that I can be proud of and that benefits everybody.

How did you raise the money?

We were fortunate enough to be supported by Rocket Internet, which loaned us the start-up capital.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

The customer initiates the order on our mobile app and books a convenient slot for pick up. We send one of our drivers operating in the area to collect the customer’s items. Drivers work in small clusters in London enabling us to provide short time slots to our customers and a reliable service.

We enable our partnering facilities to reach a larger customer base and achieve economies of scale on their equipment and in return they provide us with significant discounts. We charge customers the retail price and our optimised logistics enable us to run at a low cost.

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

Initially we had some difficulties with the technical side of our product. This was mainly driven by launching on five platforms (customer iOS and Android app, alongside our driver app, website and back-end) simultaneously.

We got through this thanks to our incredible team and lots of hard work.

What was your first big breakthrough?

The first big breakthrough was a simple but fundamental one – our first returning customer.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

My advice would be to take the risk and to not be afraid of the unknown.

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

In five years’ time, I envision ZipJet to be operating in many major cities across Europe and other developed countries.

I hope that we will have changed the way people do their laundry and dry cleaning for good and, by freeing up time in ZipJet customers’ lives, we hope they can spend more time with the people that matter to them the most.

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