Village Laundry Service (VLS), an Innosight Ventures portfolio company has announced that it has raised Series A financing from Kensington Capital, Index Advisory, and a private India-based investor. The investments will allow VLS to continue the rapid expansion of its chain of laundry kiosks, operated under the brand name Chamak.
We profile Chamak when it was starting up (2009) and this is what we wrote:
They seem to have about 10 locations in Bangalore itself. Someone obviously heard the chatter about the pain points with the existing vendors etc and decided to give this a shot. I’m not yet debating about it being a great idea etc, but its an opportunity, and its heartening to see someone take a crack at it.
One’s heard often that 10 other people have exactly the same idea at the same time as you have it (or even earlier), and it boils down to execution, but it was still a very wow moment to come across a real world example of one such.There are opportunities galore. We often do not explore enough, or fail to understand the real pain points of the consumers we’re trying to address. It takes ears on the ground, and a continuous interpretation of what it all means, to identify what might serve, delight the consumer and differentiate the service.
Chamak was started by Akshay Mehra (MBA from IIMC) who has more than 10 years experience in FMCG and retail industries, and moved back to India after being in Singapore for 7 years.
Chamak booths are innovatively design of be rollaway booth units (small 4ft by 4ft footprint, with self-contained water supply) allowing positioning in high demand locations, flexibility to move and most importantly reducing the rental costs per booth. The company has developed unique water handling system which allows them to use the rig without having any water connection close by, allowing flexibility in locating where the customer is and not where the utilities are available.
Importantly, technology has played a big role in keeping the pricing low (Rs. 50/kg), and the startup has found a sweet spot – i.e. the gap between a cheap dhobi and expensive laundry service.
An interesting startup that is solving real pain point using technology and most importantly, executing it well.