Skip to main content

You are here

Laundromat-Based Healthcare Startup’s Pitch is Rewarded

Richard King Mellon Foundation to invest $500,000 in Fabric Health

PITTSBURGH — A Philadelphia-based startup that seeks to improve access to healthcare for people through strategic engagement at laundromats was the big winner in a philanthropic foundation’s first-ever “Pitch Competition.”

The Richard King Mellon Foundation selected Fabric Health as first-place winner and will invest $500,000 in the company, which plans to use the funding to expand its program into Pittsburgh.

Currently incorporated through The Laundry Cafe’s five locations in Philadelphia, Fabric Health works with healthcare partners to facilitate healthcare coverage and wellness screenings for laundromat customers waiting for their laundry to finish.

“Fabric Health is meeting busy families where they are, in the time they  have: the laundromat,” the company said in describing itself for competition judges. “(Thirty-two million) Americans spend two hours a week waiting at laundromats. Instead of  asking busy families to add more to their packed schedules, Fabric unlocks existing downtime by  stacking social determinants of health interventions onto laundromats. Fabric primes laundromats with  technology and staffing to improve health and well-being.”

“This is an interesting idea that addresses an important problem,” wrote one judge. “The founding team has demonstrated experience and expertise in the use of laundromats as a venue to deliver social and educational services.”

The Foundation’s investments made through its new Social-Impact Investment Program—in total, $3.39 million in 16 companies—is not to make money but to utilize the creativity and scalability of publicly minded for-profit businesses to advance the philanthropic goals of its Strategic Plan.

More than 100 companies submitted pitches, and Foundation Director Sam Reiman characterized the competition as “Shark Tank without the sharks.”

Laundromat-Based Healthcare Startup’s Pitch Hits the Mark

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected] .