Washio, the on-demand laundry startup that launched in 2013, has today announced that it will shutter its service.
In a letter posted to the website, Washio founders announced that the company will shut down operations, effective immediately. No new orders will go through the service, and outstanding orders will be returned to customers promptly.
You can read the full shut-down letter below.
Sources told TechCrunch that Washio was shopping itself around to various competitors that might be interested in an acquisition, but it appears that none of those conversations came to fruition.
According to CrunchBase, Washio raised a total of $16.82 million in funding across four rounds from investors like Canaan Partners, AME Venture Partners, and notable angel investors such as Ashton Kutcher and Nas.
When Washio originally launched, it offered a service that would pick up users’ laundry or dry cleaning at a scheduled time, sometimes as early as 24 hours from the time of the order placement. In 2015, the company launched Washio Now, guaranteeing a pick-up within an hour of ordering, with a 24-hour turnaround time on clothes.
Washio grew to service Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, New York, and Washington D.C.
Unfortunately, the on-demand economy is one that usually yields low margins and requires rapid growth and expansion to make up the cost of laying down territory. Washio isn’t the only company that has suffered on-demand growing pains — Handy cleaning service had some tough times last year, and Homejoy shut down entirely.
On top of that, Washio has seen fierce competition over the past few years from the likes of Flycleaners in NYC and Cleanly, which is already operational in New York and launching in D.C. in the next few weeks.
Here is Washio’s letter to customers:
Dear Washio Community,
We started Washio some 4 years ago with a simple goal in mind: to clean the world’s clothes. That mission began from our kitchen counter, and led us through an incredible journey over the last few years as we became the nation’s largest dry clean and laundry service. We served our loyal customers in six cities across the country, 7 days a week, morning noon and night, with 24-hour turnaround for clean clothes. A proposition that still, to this day, does not exist in the offline world.
We generated millions in revenue and hundreds of thousands of orders, but the nature of startups is being innovative and venturing into uncharted territory: sometimes you make it, sometimes you don’t. We are proud of what we accomplished along the way: over one million items of clothing dry cleaned, and over 21,000 tons of laundry washed and folded!
As of Aug 29, Washio will be shutting down its operations. No more orders will be accepted and outstanding orders will be returned promptly to customers.
We are not alone in believing in Washio’s core business, technology and team, and hope it lives on in some shape or form in the future. But, that story has yet to be told…
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for all of your support and belief in Washio, our vision and our love for sharing cookies and clean clothes.
Jordan, Juan and Bob
We reached out to Washio for comment but they have not responded.