Spanish startup modernizes Philippine laundry business

A Spanish startup, formed by three young entrepreneurs in 2015, is now making an impact on day-to-day services such as laundry, hairdressing, and beauty in many countries including the Philippines.

Spanish startup modernizes Philippine laundry business
Jeff co-founder and chief executive Eloi Gomez
Jeff, which started as an on-demand home laundry and dry-cleaning app, is on expansion mode in line with its goal to become the first international omni-channel ecosystem of day-to-day services.   It is present in 40 countries across Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia where it has more than 2,300 franchises sold. 

Eloi Gomez, the chief executive and a co-founder of Jeff, had just graduated from college when he and two friends started the company five years ago. “I met Rubén Muñoz and Adrián Lorenzo, the other two co-founders of the company, in college while we were studying and living in a student house. Together, we created and sold two small companies before creating Mr Jeff, now Jeff,” he says.

“Besides being a young entrepreneur, what I truly wanted was to make a difference in peoples’ lives. My age at the time was not a large factor,” says Gomez who now oversees employees from more than 20 different nationalities who work together to help entrepreneurs.

“Since our start in 2015, we have evolved quite dramatically. We started with Mr Jeff in Europe and Latin America. We then launched in the Philippines, the first market in Asia in August 2019,” Gomez says via e-mail.

Jeff has sold 80 Mr Jeff laundry franchises in the Philippines, with its laundry hubs  operating in Metro Manila and Sta. Rosa, Laguna. 

In June 2019, the co-founders announced the evolution of Mr. Jeff’s worldwide business model from a laundry and dry cleaning services app to an ecosystem for day-to-day services with a mission to make people’s lives easier. 

“This evolution also brought about a change in its corporate name, which became Jeff, and unified all the business lines that the company had launched, and would launch in the future.

Gomez says while Jeff took a hit at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, its business model features of convenient and safe pick-up and delivery services allowed the company to gain a large number of new customers over the last few months who would normally go to DIY laundry stores. 

“Jeff entrepreneurs ensured that the customer’s confidence remained strong. Almost all partners have strengthened their numbers and metrics in comparison with pre-COVID statistics,” he says.

He says that in the Philippines, Jeff is performing better than expected. “The percentage of online orders is around 65 percent to 70 percent. Local franchisees are offering a great service and the quality rating is outstanding at 4.8 out of 5. More laundry stores are currently being set up and are soon to open,” says Gomez.

He says a good number of partners will soon be ready to open in the Philippines to help Jeff gain more visibility and popularity.  “We are very proud of the growth we are seeing in this dynamic, tech-friendly and challenging market,” he says.

The Philippines was the first Asian market Jeff began operating in. “We want to continue to have a strong presence in a country that welcomes innovative business ideas so well. We believe that Jeff and our network of entrepreneurs will continue to grow in the Philippines. The Philippines has a very strong economy, primarily supported by a growing middle class. Manila is soon to be a tech hub and the country is very welcoming to companies that seek to expand and employ locals,” says Gomez.

He says while Jeff’s stores closed in March at the start of the pandemic in the Philippines, they eventually reopened in May.  “By June, our stores had already recovered, earning 17 percent more income than before the COVID 19 pandemic,” he says.

Gomez says this is because entrepreneurs have embraced the digital phenomenon and more consumers are engaging in e-commerce and using online shopping platforms. “This has transformed the way people live and do business, which bodes well for us because we are a technology-driven enterprise,” he says.

About 65 to 70 percent of orders for Jeff’s services in the Philippines are made online. The number of orders in the country continues to increase due to high user retention rates and a substantial number of new customers, says Gomez.

“We have increased billing in most of the stores since the pandemic began. This is because we were prepared to carry out contactless deliveries and pick-ups. In addition, we were lucky to be able to provide service throughout the pandemic as laundry is considered to be an essential service in the Philippines,” he says.

“For us, the most important thing was to ensure the safety of our employees and our customers; but we also wanted to support our entrepreneurs in difficult times. So we decided to help our partners globally through the cancellation of royalty payments for four months [from March to June]. We then subsequently offered partners the chance to resume payments progressively over a four-month period, starting in July with 25 percent and ending in October with 100 percent,” he says.

To support further expansion, Jeff recently raised $21 million in a Series B financing round. The amount will be used to kick-start the launch of Jeff operations in the United States and the opening of its first office in New York in January as well as the consolidation of current markets and the development of technological product for the entrepreneurs in the Jeff network, including those in the Philippines, according to Gomez.

The financing round was led by the funds All Iron Ventures, Alma Mundi Ventures and FJLabs; investors from companies such as Alibaba, Dropbox, Uber and  Stripe; and by renowned entrepreneur Javier Rubio through Alcor Ocean S.L. 

Gomez believes that startups like Jeff can be among the most agile and flexible companies in the world as they can adapt to change easily and with great speed through the use of data and technology which is important in times of uncertainty.

“Our agility and know-how has helped us to reach more than 2,300 entrepreneurs in 40 countries. And now we want to share our ‘business in a box’ concept with new entrepreneurs who want to start a business,” he says.

Jeff’s “business in a box” concept offers entrepreneurs  everything they need to start a successful business under the umbrella of its globally-recognized brand. 

“Through our holistic approach that includes technological business management and data intelligence tools, we empower entrepreneurs to launch their own business. They can choose from a range of business lines available under our brand in the Philippines—home-delivered laundry and dry cleaning, beauty and fitness services. We also offer wellness services in other regions through our business line Relax Jeff,” he says.

With Jeff´s holistic support that includes technological business management and data intelligence tools, entrepreneurs can launch their own business choosing from the brand´s range of business lines: home-delivered laundry and dry cleaning, beauty, fitness and wellness services. 

Topics: young entrepreneurs , Eloi Gomez , laundry service , Rubén Muñoz , Adrián Lorenzo
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