Alex Smereczniak of 2ULaundry

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Alex Smereczniak, the founder and CEO of 2ULaundry, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of 2ULaundry – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

I first got exposed to laundry and dry cleaning as a business as a freshman at Wake Forest University. I worked for another student-run laundry and dry cleaning delivery startup and fell in love with the business model. I thought it could scale to Duke, Chapel Hill, and other colleges across the country, so I bought the business with 2 others my sophomore year when the seniors who owned it were graduating. We built a phenomenal business over the next 2 years and sold it for 10x what we bought it for, while learning more than we ever would have imagined along the way. After moving to Charlotte and working for EY for 2 years, I saw 2 companies on the West coast, Washio and Rinse, raise a combined $30 million dollars to go after the $40 billion industry with what I felt were the wrong models. They were trying to be the Uber for laundry, and I knew there was a better way, so I started 2ULaundry with 2 of my childhood best friends.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

There are many and I consider all of them blessings. I’ve learned so much and I am so grateful for it. The biggest hurdle I would say was just getting through the first 10 months. We all quit our jobs and had 5 guys living in a 3 bedroom apartment with mattresses on the floor to save as much cash as possible. We lived together, slept next to each other, worked together all day. Surprisingly, we never fought and really supported each other through those tough times. We wanted to give up so many times and go get “normal jobs” but we always persevered and stuck with it.

What does the future hold for 2ULaundry?

The pandemic really opened up our eyes to what we’re good at and what we’re bad at. We’re taking full advantage of the world slowing down for a few months to re-assess the business model and really fine tune it. We’re in the midst of a pivot into franchising our brick and mortar concept, which is a sleek, incredibly clean, customer centric laundry facility fueled by technology and amenities for our local community. We believe we can franchise those locations and layer the 2U pickup and delivery service on top of it for our franchisees to keep their assets (washers/dryers) utilized as much as possible.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Charlotte?

It’s come so far but still has a long way to go. I’m grateful for the many community builders out there like Garret Tichy, Sam Smith, Juan Garzon, and many more. There is so much great talent here, so much capital, and all of the other elements needed to support a robust startup ecosystem. Now I think we just need a few “wins”, with companies exiting and founders / early employees of those companies reinvesting into the community by way of seeding the next up and coming entrepreneurs.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Stick with it. Quitting your job and starting a new idea from nothing is incredibly hard. The ones that end up making it didn’t necessarily have the best idea or the perfect team – what they all did have though was persistence and the ability to “stick with it”.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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