SAN FRANCISCO — Cents, a business management and in-store operations platform that enables Laundromat owners to start, manage and grow their business, has announced a $4.25 million financing round to power and support the nearly 80,000 garment care businesses across the country.
This round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Newfund Capital, Riverpark Ventures and 1517 Fund. Jason Finger, founder of Seamless and Chairman of Upper90, also participated in the round.
Cents is focused on providing a single-solution “business in a box” system to power the entire process of Laundromat or drycleaner ownership: POS, delivery, employee management, CRM, revenue reconciliation, pickup and delivery, and hardware integrations.
“We are privileged to impact the lives of SMB (Server Message Block) operators whose businesses are an essential service within their community,” says Alex Jekowsky, Cents co-founder and CEO. “We see the ripple effect of supporting our operators; when business owners are able to optimize their operations, their employees are more successful and their customers are happier.”
Software and operational tools have elevated industries like pizza parlors, barber shops and gyms, Cents says, contending that laundry is one of the only major “main street businesses” to be underserved by modern verticalized software.
Peter Stern of Clean Rite Centers, one of the largest U.S. .Laundromat retailers, says he’s seen the impact of Cents: “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. 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.”
The need for innovation in the industry has never been more necessary, according to Cents, as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated already fast-growing trends. Full-service laundry pickup and delivery, touchless payments, and the importance of centralizing operational data and operations have been growing as the pandemic shifts consumer trends and expectations.
Cents says its software powers over 100 Laundromat and dry cleaners across eight states, and expects to be supporting 1,000 stores by the end of 2021.