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ZipJet is an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service

Please introduce yourself and your startup ZipJet to our readers!
I am Florian Färber, one of ZipJet’s two co-founders. I founded the company together with Lorenzo Franzi in 2014. ZipJet is an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service operating in London, Berlin and Paris.
ZipJet accepts orders via its smartphone app and website. Users are asked to select a convenient pickup time and place – home or office. A ZipJet driver (‘pilot’) then picks up the laundry or dry cleaning and takes this to one of ZipJet’s local facilities, where the items are processed. These are then returned to the user, clean and crisp, again at a time of the customer’s choosing.
ZipJet is backed by Rocket Internet and now has more than 50 full-time employees. Our goal is to revolutionize the world of laundry and dry cleaning, liberating our customers from laundry labour and dry cleaning drudgery. Our goal is always to help our customers unlock new time.

How did you get the idea for ZipJet?
My co-founder Lorenzo and I both have backgrounds in consulting. Whilst working for multinationals with long hours and many business trips, we found it difficult to find the time for laundry chores. Visiting the dry cleaners during the working week was almost impossible, given the opening hours. That’s what got us thinking surely by 2014 there ought to be an easier way. ZipJet was our slightly selfish solution! Fortunately, thousands of others have found the service just as useful.
We got a lot of support from Rocket Internet while founding the company, so Lorenzo and I could finally fulfil our dream. In 2014, our baby, ZipJet, was born.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
When ZipJet launched in late 2014, we were creating routes and coordinating drivers using a whiteboard. Our set-up was very basic! As the number of orders we received grew exponentially (thanks in part to our creative marketing team, but also through good word-of-mouth) we had to ensure that our technology was up to the job.
This was possibly the biggest challenge we have had to overcome. Two years on, we have an advanced algorithm and ten-strong tech team which ensure our operational excellence. Punctuality for our customers is pivotal, and we can’t afford to plan routes on a whiteboard given our volume of orders nowadays!

How fast did ZipJet grow?
At the beginning, it was literally Lorenzo and I against the world. But after just a year and a half, our two-men movement has grown into a laundry liberation movement with over 50 employees in London and Berlin. We also recently launched our third office in Paris. We plan to launch in more European capitals soon.
Nowadays, we have about 25,000 customers and we’re driving growth of around 15% month-on-month. We are very proud of our work to date and are looking forward to seeing what is on the horizon.

What’s the USP of your Startup?
We have a talented in-house tech team that are pioneering some of the most innovative technology in the on-demand economy. This degree of innovation has allowed us to achieve 96% punctuality, which, in traffic-heavy cities like London and Berlin, is a fantastic achievement.
Everything we do is with customer convenience in mind. The aim is always to alleviate consumer tedium.

How it works?
Our customers order via our app/website. They are prompted to choose from one of three ZipJet service categories – Lite, Plus and Express. Each of these categories comes with different terms of service (e.g. Lite’s 48 hour turnaround vs. Plus’ 24 hour turnaround vs. Express’ same day service).
Customers then schedule a pickup and drop off point for convenient time slots. The Plus service, for example, allows a customer to select a thirty minute window in which their ZipJet driver (“pilot”) will jet by to pick up their laundry/dry cleaning. Our operations team uses an algorithm developed in-house that optimises the route for our pilots to use, maximising potential interactions every hour.
Customers’ orders are separated into two bags – one for a simple wash (“wash & fold”) and the other for dry cleaning (“per item”). Our drivers then take the bag(s) to one of our facilities, where the washing and dry cleaning is processed.
This is then returned to our customers in accordance with the turnaround time of the service category they selected.

What services do you offer?
What don’t we offer! We can take care of anything ranging from a three-piece suit to an expensive Burberry coat. Some of the most popular items our customers send in include shirts for dry cleaning, as well as our 8 kg wash and fold bags of mixed laundry. In Berlin, we’ve also just launched a shoe-shining service.
We’ve even been able to fulfil some more unusual requests: a ZipJet user once sent in a 5kg teddy bear for a deep clean. We could only oblige!

A typical workday of you?
There’s no such thing as a typical workday at ZipJet. We are a dynamic startup and every day is different! Nevertheless, I’m a big Cross Fit fan, so I do kick off with that every day from around 7-8am. After that, I usually spend some time bringing myself up-to-date with the latest industry and tech news.
Controlling our main KPIs and value drivers of the business is my primary daily focus, and I check in with the departments I am responsible for throughout the day (IT, Product, Marketing, HR, BI and R&D). Being able to develop and adjust our company strategy and vision in conjunction with our department heads is key.
From time to time, I also act as a helicopter, working operationally in specific project teams (e.g. algorithmic dispatching, our CRM strategy, customer segmentation and so on).

Where do you see yourself in five years?
We see ZipJet as the leading service for urban, close-to-home services in all major metropoles across Europe, Asia and North America.

What tips would you give other Startup founders on the way?
Have a clear initial vision, and focus on that resolutely. Before doing anything else, build a great product first and then set about conquering the world! More specifically:

● Stay lean and try to find companions instead of employees
● Learn from your mistakes – it is ok to make some, but take each on board

Thank you Florian Färber for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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