Deyan Dimitrov is the founder and CEO of Laundryheap, an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service.
Dimitrov launched the London-headquartered company in 2014 after experiencing first-hand frustration at the lack of laundry options available.
The company lets customers schedule a laundry collection using a smartphone app, with couriers picking up the clothes via an ecargo bike.
Laundryheap now operates across 11 countries spanning Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Asia. It has raised just under £6m in funding, with £2.5m of that coming in a Series A round in March 2021.
In this week’s Founder in Five Q&A, Dimitrov explains the opportunities that come with bootstrapping, how Laundryheap has embraced sustainability and why he’s excited about edtech.
1. What funding advice would you give to a first-time founder?
Deyan Dimitrov: Don’t overlook the power of bootstrapping your business. Even though there’s a lot of expectation for startup founders to raise external capital, bootstrapping can give you more opportunity to experiment with your business model and nail the product market fit.
It’s what we did and it has brought so many strategic rewards. It also means you can then choose to take VC investment at the right time, and on your own terms.
2. How has sustainability changed your business processes?
DD: Our team firmly believes that business and sustainability can go hand in hand – so over the past few years we’ve been committed to making our processes as eco-friendly as they can be.
Last year, we introduced a large fleet of eco-bikes into our operations, all of which have proven to be fast and efficient when it comes to navigating city centres. We’ve also created ‘green routes’ for our drivers, which essentially streamline delivery routes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
3. What’s the best way to promote diversity in the workplace?
DD: It’s important to have leaders within your business that fully understand the value of diversity, and actively promote it in your workplace – good culture is set from the top and then embedded through empowering staff at every level. Having different perspectives and voices in your team is a must if you want to create a safe and accepting company culture.
We operate across a huge number of countries and so it’s essential to create working practices that accommodate diversity in all its forms. Every time a decision is being made – whether it’s hiring, financial, marketing – look around the room.
Does the room reflect the societies or communities of the markets you’re operating in? If not, bring new people into the room!
4. What’s a fact about yourself that people might find surprising?
DD: I’ve actually completed the training to become a licenced helicopter pilot!
5. Excluding your own, what’s a sector that’s ripe for disruption?
DD: I think edtech is one to keep an eye on. Virtual learning was practically catapulted into prominence at the start of the pandemic, but it has yet to reach its full potential.
Over the past few years there’s been a huge increase in the number of startups in this sector, and I’m interested to see how new businesses will continue to harness the latest technology to create hybrid models of physical and virtual learning.
Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative startups, scaleups, unicorns and public tech companies – is published every Friday.
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