For the second time in as many years, Providence-based not-for-profit seed fund Slater Technology Fund has invested in laundry pickup and delivery startup HappyNest.
The firm, which is the most active investor of its kind in Rhode Island, did not disclose the size of the investment, which was made through a special-purpose vehicle (SPV). Slater’s SPV is a for-profit entity that comprises private investors, organized as a limited partnership.
Slater previously invested $250,000 in HappyNest in August, ultimately leading the startup’s seed round.
Founded in 2018 by former investment banker John MacKrell, HappyNest looks to disrupt the $40 billion laundry industry. Its business model is structured around “laundry-as-a-service.” It allows users to choose either a weekly or “by request” plan and specify laundry preferences. Then, HappyNest picks up and washes users’ clothes and returns them a day later, with no delivery fee, although there is a minimum order fee of $25.
Slater pointed out in a statement that the HappyNest model is well-suited to our current times, with millions of Americans under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus. Meanwhile, laundry services are categorized as essential in many states.
“The investment comes at a critical time during the pandemic, as it allows HappyNest to capitalize on its function as an essential service to many during the quarantine, who rely on the safety and convenience of outsourced services,” Slater wrote.
The new funding should accelerate HappyNest’s plan to go national. It currently operates in 13 states, including Maryland, New York and Tennessee. The startup is based in East Greenwich, R.I. but does not operate in the Ocean State.
HappyNest is one of Rhode Island Inno’s Startups to Watch in 2020.