About four years ago, serial entrepreneur Venon Tian and angel investor Tan Swee Yeong beta-launched an on-demand laundry platform, called Laundryhero, in Malaysia. However, they soon realised the unit economics didn’t make any sense. Worse, the timing was wrong, too.
The duo then thought of introducing facilities in shopping malls and public places that would allow users to drop off and pick up their laundry. This led them to work on a smart pick-up point, which eliminates human interaction and intervention.
“This is when we met the guys behind Box24, a multi-purpose smart-locker system based in Thailand. We decided to collaborate with them to launch a similar concept here in Malaysia. eziPOD is the end result,” Tian told e27.
Launched in November 2017, eziPOD is a 24×7 laundry locker service. In addition to dry cleaning and laundry services, the startup also offers ironing service, wash & fold service, and household items cleaning. The startup has partnered with a leading laundry facility, which is currently catering to 5-star hotels, to process laundry.
Prior to starting eziPOD, Yeong founded a mobile content business UnrealMind Interactive, which was later sold to Monster Mob UK. His notable investments as an angel investor include Ocision (acquired by The Star), Hermo (acquired by iStyle Japan), and DeliverEat. Tian, along with Yeong, co-founded Hermiso, which is now a venture builder. The duo have also been running a chain of franchised coin laundromats for five years now.
How eziPOD works
Download the eziPAY app (available only in Malaysia) on your smartphone and sign up, scan the QR code on the smart locker with the app, and then drop your laundry in the facility. You can pick up the laundry from the locker later (after it is processed) by paying online.
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“With your first order, we’ll provide you with our branded bags. All you have to do is collect your clothes that you want cleaned. We’ll handle the rest. If needed, you can have your clean clothes ready in lesser than 48 hours,” Tian explained.
Currently, the eziPOD facility is available in 25 locations (malls, condominiums and office towers) across Klang Valley. The startup aims to achieve 200 lockers target in Klang Valley by 2021, and hit 1,000-mark in the near future across Malaysia.
“We are also expanding in terms of the services we provide– both first and last mile — allowing users to pick up their parcels from our lockers and also send their parcels using our lockers, turn these into storage lockers, and introduce advertisements on our lockers itself,” he said.
According to Tian, Klang Valley itself has more than 1,000 traditional dry cleaners/laundry (this does not include coin laundromats).
Since launch, claims the startup, eziPOD has processed more than 6,000 garments and more than 1,000 orders. Its month-on-month revenue has increased around 25 per cent. “We have also signed up two licensees over the past two months to help us grow our presence. Two of our sites have experienced more than 50 per cent utilisation on weekends in October,” said Tian.
eziPOD’s vision of building the largest locker network is inspired by the works of countries like Japan and Singapore. Adds Tian: “In Japan, logistic companies are installing lockers for customers to pick up their parcels at their convenience, which reduces the redelivery rate from 49 per cent to 8 per cent, whilst in Singapore, the government sees that the locker network will benefit the country by forming the federated locker network. This has got to be something.”
The company recently raised RM500,000 (US$120,000) via equity crowdfunding platform pitchIN and is now working towards reaching RM1.25 million (US$300,000) maximum target over the next two weeks. The campaign is already live and will end on 15 December 2018.
“It is exciting for us at eziPOD to raise the minimum target of RM500,000 within few days of going live on pitchIN. After working very hard to meet as many investors as possible, this is a validation from the investors who believe in our business model. The funds raised will help fuel our growth plans to be the largest laundry and multipurpose smart locker in Malaysia,” said Tian.
Tian says that with the rapid growth of e-commerce in Malaysia and over one million parcels delivered daily, eziPOD is poised to improve delivery time and reduce cost substantially for last-mile fulfilment logistics, as consumers can pick up their parcels on time from the lockers and avoid missed deliveries.