By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
Big blue laundry bags litter the halls of freshmen dorms bright and early on Monday and Wednesday mornings here at Wake Forest University. It’s a familiar scene that can only mean one thing: Wake Wash was here.
Wake Wash is a subscription based, door-to-door laundry and dry cleaning delivery service run by students, for students.
Alex Smereczniak (’14) worked as a bag runner for Wake Wash his freshman year and “was amazed that 200 plus students used the service even though we have washers and dryers in every dorm included in the room and board.” He was so amazed, in fact, that he went on to buy the business with two friends his sophomore year. Smereczniak then grew Wake Wash “a couple hundred percent” and sold it at the end of his senior year.
“There’s a value proposition here,” Smereczniak stated, explaining the business’s success, “your time is worth more than doing your laundry yourself.”
Even after moving on to Charlotte, North Carolina to work as a financial consultant, Smereczniak held onto that value proposition and thought about translating it to markets beyond the college campus.
During his time as a consultant, Smereczniak kept an eye on a couple of laundry delivery companies out west that worked, and struggled, in metropolitan areas with an on-demand model. An on-demand model, like Uber, meant calling a driver via a smartphone app to pick up your laundry at any given time. Smereczniak understood that this could be improved upon: he thought metropolitan areas were a great market fit, but knew that a subscription based model would produce stronger results.
And so, Smereczniak and friend Dan D’Aquisto quit their jobs, moved in together,
and officially launched 2ULaundry from their Charlotte apartment ten months ago.
Taking the principles of Wake Wash and putting them on a completely different stage, 2ULaundry promises to maximize your time by regularly picking up, taking care of, and dropping off whatever laundry or dry cleaning you may have right at your Charlotte doorstep at prescheduled times.
Since their humble beginnings in December, their customer base has grown 50-60% every month and they have taken on ten employees and eight contractors. 2ULaundry currently services 1,200 homes in Charlotte, keeping the likes of young professional men and busy moms happy. This is evidenced by their recent successful round of seed financing led by Full Tilt Capital: this September, 2ULaundry raised $400,000 of capital from Full Tilt capital and a handful of angel investors in Charlotte, New York City, and Denver.
This financing is a great feat for the 2ULaundry team, as it almost guarantees the next 14 months. Beyond that, this funding allows the team the ability to expand the staff, invest in marketing, and fine tune operations in Charlotte before hopefully expanding to another metropolitan market in the southeast.
Smereczniak shares his success with the Wake Forest community: “Wake taught me a ton. Wake Wash was the greatest experience I’d ever had. The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship was a huge resource for me. It just gave me a platform for entrepreneurship.”