July 03–Chicago-based dry-cleaning startup Pressbox is being acquired by consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, the companies announced Tuesday.
Pressbox, launched in 2013 by University of Notre Dame graduates Vijen Patel and Drew McKenna, allows customers to drop off their dirty laundry at any time in one of the company’s lockers, mainly located in high-rise apartment buildings and offices. Customers can use the Pressbox app to track their laundry as it’s taken for cleaning and are notified when it is ready for pickup.
The companies declined to disclose the terms of the deal.
“We think it’s a big win for Chicago,” said Patel, 32, CEO of Pressbox. “Our startup scene is fascinating and great.”
P&G’s deal for Pressbox is the latest example of a Fortune 500 company acquiring a Chicago-based startup. Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. bought RXBar in October for $600 million and Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. bought meal kit company Home Chef in May for $200 million.
Even bigger deals are happening elsewhere. Amazon announced Thursday that it is acquiring Boston-area pharmacy startup PillPack for nearly $1 billion.
Patel and McKenna, 31, Pressbox’s chief operating officer, were inspired to start the company because of traditional dry cleaners’ limited hours. “We took on an antiquated industry and tried to re-create the experience,” Patel said.
Pressbox has about 250 locker locations in the Chicago area and another 250 in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and Nashville, Tenn. The company plans to launch in Dallas later this month.
With the acquisition, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. adds Pressbox to its existing laundry services, including Tide Spin pickup service, Tide Dry Cleaners and Tide University Laundry.
Pressbox, which employs 60 people nationally, including 45 in Chicago, will work closely with Tide Spin. That company launched in 2016 in partnership with Chicago digital startup incubator 1871.
“We feel like they’ve been smart about figuring out how to crack the urban pickup and delivery business, and it just fits well with what we’ve been learning with Tide Spin,” Tide Spin CEO David Van Himbergen said.
“They’ve been successful in multiple markets, and it just kind of accelerates our learning and opportunities to scale,” he added.
Patel and McKenna will stay on and lead Pressbox, focusing on the urban delivery model, VanHimbergen said, although exact plans for integrating the companies have not yet been decided.
While the companies offer similar services, Tide Spin users place their laundry outside their residences for pickup. Items are washed or dry-cleaned and brought back within two to three days, all tracked on the Tide Spin app.
However, while Pressbox locations are open all the time, Tide Spin charges an extra $5.99 for pickups from 6 to 10 p.m.
For now, it’s unclear how the two brands will be integrated, but Patel said, “This will attract people to Tide services and products through Pressbox.”
Pressbox owns 100 percent of its operations, from pickup and delivery logistics to the maintenance of pressing machines.
“The fact that we’re vertically integrated only helps with us being able to have a seamless transition,” Patel said.
Procter & Gamble operates in approximately 70 countries worldwide and in addition to Tide owns the brands Bounty, Dawn, Downy, Febreze, Gain and Lenor.
This article provided by NewsEdge.