WeWash

"Making it attractive to use the shared laundry room. For everyone."

Interview with Philip Laukart and Dr. Rafael Kirschner — founders of WeWash.

WeWash

For many residents in apartment complexes and student dormitories, a trip to the laundry room can be a real fiasco. Often, the machines are occupied or dirty. If you’re in luck and you have enough coins, you’ve still got to keep a close eye on the washing times to avoid conflicts with your neighbours. So, is the shared laundry room heading for extinction? No way!

WeWash, the company founded by Philip Laukart and Rafael Kirschner, is now polishing off the shared laundry room’s tarnished old image. Forget about cash and coin dispensers. All you need is your smartphone and the little square payment terminal.

“We know there is a smarter way to do laundry.”

Philip Laukart co-founder & CEO of WeWash

Dr. Rafael Kirschner, Dr. Jan Allenberg, Philip Laukart and Christoph Weckenmann of WeWash standing in the corridor of their office looking at a file folder which Dr. Jan Allenberg is holding in his hand.

No more wasted time

“WeWash makes it attractive for everyone to use communal washing machines and dryers. Our digital solution boosts the user’s comfort and makes it far more efficient for laundry room operators to maintain their facilities”, explains Philip Laukart. This is all possible thanks to the WeWash Box, which connects the individual machines to the WeWash Cloud. It can be connected to any conventional washer and is so easy to use that it can be set up without any special training. Once the WeWash Box is installed, there’s never any need to empty coin dispensers, make manual calculations or drop off coins at the bank.

The benefits for users are also clear: using the WeWash website or an app on their phone, they can check to see if any machines are available, and reserve them. As soon as their laundry is finished, they receive a notification. If there aren’t any washers available, users can line up in a virtual queue and receive a message as soon as a machine is ready for them. Now, there’s no more sitting around the laundry room, waiting for someone else’s spin cycle to finish. And, of course, the payment is fully cashless and transparent. Like this, users never have to worry about having the exact change on hand.

Some impressions of WeWash headquarters in Munich, Germany

The set-up costs are lower than with conventional coin-payment terminals. WeWash does not charge any monthly fees, but works with a flexible, revenue-based fee. Each month, the laundry room operators receive their monthly pay-out, along with a clear transaction overview that’s suitable for their tax purposes. Plus, the operator can always log in to the Partner Board to check their current revenues or see how often their machines are being used.

Complex technology made simple

WeWash is extremely easy to use. Yet, its developers had to overcome numerous technical hurdles to make sure their product performs flawlessly. “We benefited a lot from the experience of our parent company, BSH Hausgeräte (the household appliances division of the Bosch Group), and all of the know-how that our talented team brings to the table every day”, explains Rafael Kirschner.

WeWash washing machine goodies in the office.

WeWash has experienced phenomenal growth since it launched in 2016 in Munich. Today, the company is already serving 30,000 users throughout Germany. Christoph Weckenmann explains that the product is designed to be as simple as possible for the user, so that they ‘barely notice’ that they are operating extremely complex technology.

“We serve people from all walks of life. Our customers are like a cross-section of society.”

Christoph Weckenmann Head of Business Operations at WeWash

Ready for the future with Mollie

“It didn’t take us long to cast off the start-up mentality and start focusing heavily on professionalizing. That’s what B2B customers expect. They don’t care if you’ve got an Italian coffee machine and a table football table in your office. What matters to them is reliability and results”, says Rafael Kirschner.

“We’re also the ones who always read the legal fine print.”

Rafael Kirschner founder & COO at WeWash

That’s exactly how WeWash proceeded in 2019 when it was time for them to find a new payment service provider. WeWash chose Mollie based on a combination of technical aspects, functionalities and cost-effective conditions. Jan Allenberg says, “We were extremely impressed with the API and its features. Our product is quite special. If a phone user dials in to our hotline, we have to be able to take a digital payment from them, even if they don’t have our app. Mollie does an excellent job supporting us with important features like that.”

Right: WeWash Founders Dr. Rafael Kirschner and Philip Laukart standing in front of washing machines in the Das Reserl student residence. Left: The WeWash banner at headquarters.

“In just one day, we were already able to capture our first payment. It worked like a charm”, says Jan. Christoph Weckenmann adds, “I was so impressed!” WeWash is also one of the first Mollie customers to start using Mollie Components. “Credit card payments are now perfectly embedded in the checkout process. Because of the iFrame solution, the customer is no longer redirected to another site”, says Rafael Kirschner. Mollie Components helps boost conversion during checkout by offering a better user experience.

The shared laundry room of tomorrow

Today’s society is rapidly embracing the sharing economy. Sharing-based business models are not only more sustainable and affordable, they’re also more convenient. From tourists to home office workers to students: these days, everyone is sharing instead of buying.

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“We do many things to strengthen the relationship with our customers.”— Robin Holle, Dierapotheker