Tanzanian startup Emakatt is reporting positive uptake as it pioneers the idea of on-demand laundry services in Dar es Salaam.
Launched early this year, Emakatt has developed a mobile application that enables users to request for their dirty clothes to be collected from their home or office, cleaned, and returned to them.
Relatively common globally and in some other African countries, on-demand laundry is a new concept in Tanzania, which Emakatt plans to take advantage of. Founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Rogers Katuma, who worked for PwC Tanzania before founding the startup, told had seen an opportunity to develop the business by partnering with hotels.
“Investing in washing machines and vehicles for pickup and delivery would not have cut down our operating costs, so we saw the opportunity of using a network of hotel facilities which are underutilised, and a network of transporters,” he said.
“We are working with a network of dry cleaners and hotels. Once the order is picked from the client it is delivered to the nearest laundry partner or hotel.”
The response has been positive, with Emakatt winning US$15,000 investment from the Financial Sector Deepening Trust Tanzania after a pitch competition in February, and raising a further US$10,000 from family and friends. Katuma said the startup is currently in negotiations to raise US$30,000 in seed funding.
With this additional marketing budget, the startup has seen solid growth. It has already processed around 400 orders, and generated thousands of dollars in revenues.
“We charge a client based on the clothes requested for laundry, each piece of cloth has its own price,” Katuma said.
“It has been challenging and fun at the same time. Our business model requires building the demand side and the supply side at the same time.”
Though Emakatt is currently focusing on Dar es Salaam city, he says expansion will follow soon.
“We will expand to Arusha, Mwanza and Mbeya in Tanzania, before replicating the same model in other major cities in Africa. There are more than 334 million people who are in the category of middle income earners in Africa that could use and afford our service. We want to serve them.”