App for That

Seamless for Laundry! Startups Race to Deliver Your Wearables

Brinkmat and SpotlessCity want to make laundry ultra-convenient.
laundromat Seamless for Laundry! Startups Race to Deliver Your Wearables

(flickr.com/alishav)

“People have warmed up to the idea of doing less and less actually on their own,” entrepreneur Jay Winters told Betabeat over the phone yesterday, citing the popularity of FreshDirect and Seamless. “We saw just a hugely inefficient market in New York when it comes to laundry.” Mr. Winters is one of two former Goldman Sachs engineers behind Brinkmat, an online ordering service for laundry pickup and delivery.

You rolled your eyes, didn’t you. But you want to know more!

Brinkmat coordinates time-crunched customers with laundromats that already offer pickup and delivery. The service has a few dozen stores right now and it’s hyperlocal to the Upper East Side and the Financial District, with some offerings in the West Village. It’s best when you have a critical mass of stores in one neighborhood, Mr. Winters said, so they compete on price and there’s always an option to fit your schedule. “A lot of people have issues communicating with their laundromat owners and stuff like that,” Mr. Winters said. “It’s a natural place for technology to fit in the middle.” Brinkmat provides some on-the-fly Google translation when needed.

Brinkmat signs up laundry services and asks for their turnaround time and delivery radius. The site prompts customers to enter their address and find which laundromats offer pickup and delivery, scheduling times, reviews and specials; then lets them schedule and pay online. Brinkmat will work in dense cities, Mr. Winters said, “any place where people end up walking a lot with your huge laundry bag… that’s just not nececssary and shouldn’t happen.”

Mr. Winters and his partner, Tim O’Malley, raised some money from friends and family and launched Brinkmat about six weeks ago. They’ve got a competitor–SpotlessCity, which is larger and had a few weeks’ head start–and they plan to raise more money soon. They charge business owners to be on the site; business owners can put up whatever prices they like. “There are far more places that would deliver to you than you would ever go to,” Mr. Winters said. “On the Upper East Side, all the places on the river are way cheaper as opposed to some place next to the subway on Fifth Ave, but no one is going to walk over to the water to get their stuff. But obviously, they’ll come to you.”
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