Start-up: Washist, Nigeria
Oluwadare Ajayi, 25, is the founder of Nigerian on-demand laundry service Washist. The company collects dirty laundry from a specific address, and delivers the cleaned clothes back a few days later. Orders can be placed online or telephonically. For a monthly subscription of ₦10,000 (US$55), customers get a maximum of three pick-ups a month. Washist was started in August 2014.
1. Give us your elevator pitch.
With the inevitable need for clean clothes, Washist provides an affordable and convenient service that alleviates the chore of laundry. Washist targets upwardly mobile professionals who are too busy to do their laundry themselves or drive to the laundromat and dry cleaners.
2. How did you finance your start-up?
Funding is a very daunting task in the African tech space. I was lucky to have shared the idea with Oluwafemi Taiwo who is a successful internet entrepreneur. He was sold on the idea from the onset and we were able to raise $50,000 from him and a few angel investors.
3. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?
I would invest in infrastructure and logistics; to further develop our product; hire a team of professionals and then expand into other markets.
4. What risks does your business face?
The major risk we have as a company is not sticking to our value proposition. That is non-compliance to quality assurance, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction and result in a decrease of returning customers.
5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.
It has to be when we launched operations and couldn’t meet up with the demand. We had to rapidly expand our business and this cemented the idea that we were solving a major issue.
6. What has been the biggest mistake you have made, and what have you learnt from it?
Hiring the wrong people would be one of the mistakes I have made. One major lesson learnt is to always be recruiting.