Cents, a leading business management and in-store operations platform for laundromat owners, recently announced a $4.25 million financing round. The round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Newfund Capital, Riverpark Ventures and 1517 Fund. Jason Finger, co-founder of Seamless and chairman of Upper90, also participated in this round.
Cents provides a single-solution “business in a box” system that powers all of the processes of a laundromat or drycleaning operation, including POS, delivery, employee management, CRM, revenue reconciliation, pickup and delivery, and hardware integrations. This proprietary system can enable laundry owners to increase revenue, optimize operational efficiency and expand into new markets with delivery, according to Cents.
Software and operational tools have elevated such industries as pizza parlors, barber shops and gyms, the company noted – adding that the garment-care industry is one of the only major Main Street businesses to be underserved by modern, verticalized software.
In addition, COVID-19 has acted as an accelerant to the already fast-growing industry trends of full-service laundry, pickup-and-delivery, touchless payments, and the importance of centralizing operational data and operations. The pandemic has shifted consumer trends and expectations, Cents stated, and small-business owners witnessing the shifts in retail operations are eager to try to get ahead of the curve.
“We are privileged to impact the lives of small-business owners whose operations are an essential service within their communities,” said Alex Jekowsky, co-founder and CEO of Cents. “We see the ripple effect of supporting our operators. When business owners can optimize their operations, their employees are more successful, and their customers are happier.”
Peter Stern of Clean Rite Centers, one of the largest laundromat chains in the U.S., has personally witnessed Cents’ impact.
“We’ve been utilizing the Cents platform for almost a year, and it’s incredible to see how the product continues to develop and help our business,” Stern explained. “I’ve been able to test new operating models, add on-demand delivery without any cost, and run 40-plus stores easier than ever before. Cents is the game-changer that our industry has been waiting for.”
Of course, in-store employees are the most active daily users of the Cents system.
“As a manager of laundromats and someone who utilizes the Cents system in-store, it’s great to finally see a platform that is easy to use for my team, noted Cris Santibañez, store manager and attendant at Laundré in San Francisco. “I’ve used many different POS/store systems before, but this is the first platform that is as dynamic as I need, while also fast for my employees to pick up.”
Cents has already achieved strong growth in the garment-care marketplace, with its system currently in use in more than 100 laundromats and drycleaners across eight states. Additionally, the company expects to be supporting more than 1,000 stores by the end of 2021.