STARTUP OF THE WEEK - UCLEAN
Legal Name: UClean
Headquarters: Faridabad, Haryana
Founding Date: 2016
Founder: Arunabh Sinha
CEO: Arunabh Sinha
Faridabad-based UClean claims to be India’s first organised chain of laundry and home cleaning stores, has become the fastest retail chain to touch 200 franchisees. The company has a presence across 17 states in India, the highest for any retail chain in India.
UClean is the brand’s dry cleaning offering for premium dry cleaning for clothes and bags. UClean is foraying the dry clean segment with its first UClean Select store in South Delhi’s Defence Colony area of Delhi. It was Launched in October 2016, UClean has a mission to build India's first organised chain of laundry and home cleaning stores, focused on fostering the DIY (Do It Yourself) culture. They also enable the time-crunched customers to avail themselves pick-n- drop service from the comfort of their home or office.
UClean currently operates over 170+ stores across 45+ cities in India and multiple stores in Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, and Thailand It has over 100,000 users availing its services. The company offers a home to pick up & drop as well as a DIY model where customers can visit their nearby UClean laundromat to address their laundry needs. The hyperlocal model of UClean ensures that the customers are within a 2-3km radius of their nearest UClean store. Using advanced technology, UClean can address the needs of its users better by offering a real-time status on a customer's order and pay via digital platforms. UClean also launched their Android and iOS apps for the convenience of last-minute bookings and quick doorstep services.
As per market experts, India’s laundry cleaning services industry is largely fragmented and worth more than $76 billion annually, including the B2B and B2C segments.
While most of the startups in the on-demand laundry space focused on aggregation and connecting them with potential users, while Sinha and the team focused on increasing the number of stores owned by each franchisee.
“We were focused on recruiting new franchisees every year, training them, and up-skilling them, providing the software, while we kept providing them business support. As a company, one metric we can track very closely is franchise repetition rates, wherein we focus on helping franchisees to open multiple stores, within a year of being in our own system," said Sinha.
Currently, UClean serves marquee clients such as DLF Emporio, OYO Rooms in select cities, Amazon, retail luxury brands. In 2019, they acquired premium luxury brands, including Dior, Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton.
Talking about the key corporate milestone of UClean, Arunabh Sinha, CEO and Founder, said, “Touching 200 franchisees without burning cash and in a sustainable manner is unheard of in the Indian startup ecosystem. Our franchise led model has allowed us to remain an asset-light and focused our time and energies on driving profitability at the unit (franchise) level. Despite the requirement for the franchise is to invest upfront in the store setup, we have worked closely with our franchisees and focused on business fundamentals and concentrate on forging partnerships driven by a strong business model that generates profits and allows franchisees to break even in about 15 to 18 months.”
Keywords: Arunabh Sinha, Revenue, Startup, UClean, Retail Laundry, Laundromat Chain, Dry Cleaning, Funding, Franchise India, Laundry Startup