OXWASH was founded by current Synthetic biology student Kyle Grant, born in South Africa and later raised on the Isle of Wight. Kyle has spent time working in various fields including astro/aeronautics (NASA) and yachting (UKSA). OXWASH was founded at the end of 2017 as Kyle was left disappointed and frustrated by the quality of the existing laundry services provided by Oxford Colleges and the lack of a focus on sustainability.
OXWASH allows students, Oxford residents and businesses, a sustainable solution to their laundry and dry cleaning requirements as orders are collected and delivered by electric bike, and all detergents used to clean clothes are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The company is growing rapidly and currently consists of 4 full time staff including couriers, marketing and part time processing staff. Funding to date has consisted of private capital but a seed round is looking inevitable in the short term.
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at starting a business. I’ve been inspired since the early days of SpaceX by Elon Musk, who I’m sure many will cite as a figurehead entrepreneur. I believe there are many markets that need to be brought kicking into the 21st century, and in my opinion laundry/dry cleaning is one of the best nuts to try and crack.
Technology has come so far in the past 50 years and the industry is ripe for disruption. The advent of renewable energy sources, rapid advances in energy storage technology and fantastic local companies developing green detergents make a unique and sustainable solution to laundry. It’s a fantastic and surprisingly creative market to work in!
I see entrepreneurship as a fancy word for problem solving. I love problem solving, it’s one of the many reasons why I have enjoyed my DPhil so much. As an entrepreneur you start by looking at the world and looking for problems, you soon see them everywhere, especially when you view the world through sustainability-focused goggles. Then as you pin one down to tackle you encounter more problems. You then pick away and solve them one by one. Solve funding. Solve processes. Solve reusability and sustainability. When you look up from your laptop and back at what you and the team have achieved it’s incredibly rewarding.
We tested our idea early on with several reference customers including Wadham and Trinity Colleges, The Oxford Royale Academy and local businesses such as Youngmans Grooming. As soon as we started getting people calling/emailing/jumping out in front of the bike asking for our services we knew we were on to a winner!
Resilience, Vision, and Adaptability
I love meeting new people with new ideas, bringing them together into a team that makes real change.
As mentioned before this would have to be Elon and SpaceX.
I would discuss how the principles of redundancy, sustainability and reusability can be valuable in any business, not just aerospace.
I have made many mistakes since starting OXWASH, thankfully none of them critical! I learnt very early on that you have to FOCUS your offering and business model if you want to grow in a coherent way. Many companies try to pivot this way and that too early and lose focus and purpose.
To date our funding has all been private equity but we are raising a seed round in Q3/4 2018.
The View II program at the SBS was fantastic. We have a great board of advisors who keep us grounded and help guide the company forwards.
Oxfordshire is an amazing place to be an entrepreneur! Not only do you have an incredible mix of bright young minds at the university, but the county-wide start-up culture and community is fantastic. There are meet-ups, competitions and events every week if not every day. Building a team of like-minded innovators is almost too easy. I wouldn’t want to start a business anywhere else!
- The Oxford Foundry
- Carbon Trust
You only live once. Give your idea a go and don’t look back! Find people like you and treat them how you would want to be treated.