International lenders did not disclose specificities, but said it was part of global cost-cutting plansNovember 26, 2015 11:32
Dubai resident’s high-tech laundry service awash with success
Bader Al Kalooti promises hassle-free pick up and delivery of clothes, writes Randa El Tahawy
February 13, 2014 2:19 by kippreport
While a cosmopolitan city, such as Dubai, has several laundry businesses that are successful, not many are as different as The Laundry Box. For entrepreneur Bader Al Kalooti, setting up this high-tech laundry service was his golden ticket. Although it was launched in May 2013, the new business has recently started gathering pace.
Originally from Kuwait, the Dubai resident – who was an investment banker for the past six years – talks to Kippreport.com about his share of mishaps with laundry providers, which included a suit mix-up right before an important business trip. “Based on first-hand experience, I realised that the laundry sector needed more innovation,” he says.
Seeing that logistics problems were at the core of issues that customers faced, the young entrepreneur thought of creating a simpler way to deal with this routine chore. The Laundry Box gives customers the ability to do their laundry anytime, without the hassle of calling someone, waiting for anyone or having to beat traffic to get to the dry cleaners on time.
Its high-tech system provides users with proprietary lockers inside residential buildings, for which they need to create an online account and set up their preferences, such as receiving shirts in hangers or in a folded format. Customers will then be able to access these lockers 24/7 to drop off their laundry. Once the dirty clothes are put inside a locker, The Laundry Box collects them and returns them the following day, either by placing the clothes back inside the locker or through home delivery (the new service will be available in the coming months). Payments can be made by cash, through credit/debit cards online or at the lockers.
The Laundry Box lockers are currently present in 22 buildings across Dubai, namely the DIFC, Burj Residences, South Ridge Towers, Park Towers, Ocean Heights and Bay Central. For now, the service is only available for customers who have access to lockers.
When presenting his idea to investors, Al Kalooti says they immediately saw the growth potential of the project. For his first round of funding, he raised $1.3 million and an additional $1.4m at a later stage. “After we set up the company, we spent approximately one year and a half doing research and development for establishing the system, because everything is ours, nothing is franchised,” he adds.
Al Kalooti also promises a five-star service: “We pay attention to the little details. We replace buttons for free or, if we find a little hole in a dress, we stitch it without you telling us to do so.”
He is also planning to expand further into Dubai in the near future. “Once we develop the concept and the system properly, it will be easier for us to replicate it as a franchise programme and expand into other localities,” he concludes.