We’re a family run business run by Charl and Dani de Beer. The company, established in 2017, is based in Cape Town.
The business started providing a linen rental solution for the exploding AirBnB market in the Cape. Charl and Dani spent 14 years living in London, where laundries are a part of the city’s fabric. Charl noticed this on his daily commute and when returning to South Africa decided to focus on offering laundry services for the growing Airbnb market in Cape Town. There are approximately 18,000 Airbnbs in Cape Town, and while some are small operations where bed linen can be laundered easily by the owners after each visit, many owners have multiple properties that are run on a professional basis, making laundering bed linen a much more cumbersome task.
While he originally thought to collect, launder and return the properties’ own linen, Charl quickly realised that as his business grew, so too would the complexity and effort involved to run it; he would have to deal with labour-intensive sorting and separating of each properties’ linen. The solution was to own the linen himself, offering a linen rental service, and in May 2017 he started delivering freshy-laundered bed linen to Airbnb properties ahead of a visitor’s arrival, then collecting the laundry after the guest had left.
At this point, he was using a third-party laundry service, but when Day Zero began making headlines in Cape Town, he realised that the water crisis was an existential threat to his business. The industrial laundries that he spoke to were making small inroads into using non-potable water, but Charl thought that there had to be a better solution. He firmly believes in technology’s power to change and so began to do research into innovation in the field, which was how he discovered the Hydrofinity near-waterless laundry system.
The first Hydrofinity machine arrived in South Africa in February 2018, and Charl has received incredibly good feedback from his first demonstrations. The machine is developed for industrial use, and because of its low water and electricity usage, users could start to see a return on investment in 18 months or so. With South African hotels alone using 1.5 billion litres per year of water in their laundry a near-waterless machine can have a significant beneficial impact on the hospitality sector.
The natural next step was to expand out of the hospitality sector, and the company launched its Industrial Workwear service in 2020. This service, either outsourced or run from a clients own site (called On-Premise Laundry or OPL) caters to the Agri-processing, mining and construction sectors.