Laundry startup UClean tops up pre-Series A round
L-to-R (Gunjan Co Founder, Arunabh Sinha, Founder and CEO, Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kemmu, Anubhav Chopra Investor)

Tech-enabled laundry and cleaning solutions company UClean has topped up its pre-Series A funding with an additional Rs 4 crore ($615,600) from US-based existing angel investor Anubhav Chopra.

As part of the deal, Chopra will also finance the startup’s first full-stack live dry cleaning studio, UClean Select, which would offer premium services for “delicate and ornamental clothes”, besides leather items such as bags.

Owned and operated by UConcepts Solutions LLP, UClean is an organised chain of laundry and home cleaning stores that operates on a franchise model. In February, it had raised $1 million (Rs 6.5 crore) from franchise and retail services provider Franchise India Holdings Ltd, and Chopra.

The startup had also raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Franchise India in late 2016.

“This funding will hold us in good stead while we continue to grow aggressively. The idea has always been to build UClean as a hyperlocal neighbourhood concept, powered in the front end by technology. We are proud to introduce Android and iOS apps for our end-users,” said UClean founder and CEO Arunabh Sinha.

Sinha, an IIT Bombay graduate, started UClean in 2016. He had previously headed the north India operations for budget hotel chain Treebo Hotels.

Laundry startups

Several laundry startups have elicited interest from investors in the past couple of years, leading to acquisitions and mergers.

In March 2017, New Delhi-based PML Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs on-demand dry cleaning and laundry services provider PickMyLaundry, had acquired subscription-based laundry and dry cleaning startup OneClickWash.

PickMyLaundry had raised $200,000 in a pre-Series A round in late 2016, while Gurugram-based OneClickWash had raised seed funding from Unitus Seed Fund in March 2016.

In April last year, Chennai-based laundry startup Wassup had bought VC-backed DoorMint. A year before, it had acquired Hyderabad’s Ezeewash.

Pune-based HelloDhobi and Jaipur’s Urban Dhobi Services Pvt. Ltd were among the other startups that secured funding in 2016.

On the flip side, many startups had to shut shop after failing to raise follow-on funding. Delhi-based Tooler had reportedly shut down in February 2016, while UrbanClap downed shutters a month later and Bengaluru’s Flashdoor stopped operations in May 2016.

Amazon-backed Housejoy’s chief executive had told VCCircle in 2016 that laundry was a tough business to make profits.

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