Oxwash, the high-tech Oxford-based laundry start-up, has secured a £1.4 million funding injection to aid with expansion.
The investment, announced at the start of May, will allow the company to launch operations nationally and grow their operations and executive teams. Oxwash was previously operating on a £300,000 pre-seed round.
Among the new backers are Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Indeed.com founder Paul Forster, TrueSight Ventures, and Founders Factory. The funding round also includes several unnamed angel investors.
Founded in 2017 by Oxford student Dr Kyle Grant, Oxwash aims to disrupt the way laundry is cleaned and delivered. By reengineering the traditional laundry process they have succeeded in cutting associated emissions, and are working towards reaching zero net carbon emissions for delivery and washing services.
Grant, a former NASA engineer, has two years of experience researching microorganisms at the space agency. He and his team have developed an ozone-based cleaning process which requires less energy and is safer than traditional laundry methods, which rely on chemicals and high temperatures.
Pollutant producing delivery services have been replaced by a fleet of electric cargo bikes which deliver to customers locally.
The £1.4 million seed will allow washing hubs (dubbed “Lagoons” by the company) to be set up in cities across the country. Hubs will be located centrally to allow for bike transportation, and customers will be able to benefit from next day door-to-door service.
Speaking to Cherwell, Grant said: “With this new investment Oxwash will be able to dedicate resources to expanding our proprietary washing technology, hire new team members both operational and executive, as well as expand into new geographies such as London.
“We’re all incredibly excited to expand our team and bring clinically-clean and sustainable laundry and dry cleaning to everyone.”
Originally catering for students at the University, Oxwash now has more than 4000 paying customers and has secured “several hundred” business contracts.
Over the last two months, the company has sought to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 and is working closely with the NHS to provide services for local GP surgeries.
Grant added: “With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been working hard to support both the primary and secondary healthcare sectors with disinfection and washing of PPE, scrubs and medical uniforms. We’re now working with labs in the Netherlands to verify our disinfection coupled with our proprietary ambient temperature washing.
“We’re aiming to combine zero-emission laundry with world-class disinfection to ensure people are safe from textile pathogen transmission in the future.”