CONVENIENCE CULTURE: START-UPS SERVE AS MIDDLEMEN FOR TIME-POOR HONGKONGERS
Rather than provide services themselves, start-ups operate apps that allow you to arrange pick-up, cleaning and delivery of your laundry, get quotes from tradesmen for home repairs, and order deliveries of restaurant meals
Doing your laundry can be a chore in Hong Kong, given the long hours many of us work. That’s why Kelvin Lee Ka-ho co-launched a start-up this year that, through a computer and mobile app, arranges for people’s washing to be picked up, laundered and returned.
The start-up, Boni.com.hk, has teamed up with a network of neighbourhood laundry services, which clean the clothes, and with delivery companies such as GoGoVan. It is among a new generation of start-ups that aim to make life more convenient for Hongkongers.
Also able to call on a big network of vehicles is Boni, which uses some 60 part-time drivers from different delivery firms.
Co-founder Lee, 29, says that while its charges are similar to those of neighbourhood laundry services, its service offers customers greater convenience and flexibility. “We pick up even one piece of clothing for dry-cleaning. Customers can choose the time and place for collection and delivery [using the app],” he says.
With around HK$1 million in start-up capital, the business graduate from the University of California, Los Angelesset up the company in Hong Kong’s Science Park.
“We have dozens of orders every day now. The profit margin is low. But we are trying to establish market share. When there are more customers, we will expand the base of laundry partners and the cost of logistics will decrease.”