Annual report 2016 – agility stories
Laundry gets a new spin
WeWash connects washing machines and their users
Reading time: 11 minutes
Sharing a washing machine can mean wasted time and frayed nerves. Based on their personal experience, three associates at BSH Hausgeräte decided a solution was needed. Their idea rapidly led to WeWash, BSH’s first innovation spin-off.
In the sharing economy, people share cars, swap apartments, and lend each other tools. Why not share washing machines and dryers, too? Shared washing machines, long a bone of contention for students in shared accommodation, could be on the brink of a renaissance.
The reasons for this are more practical than idealistic: living space is becoming increasingly scarce and expensive, especially in cities. Every trip to the laundry room becomes a game of chance: Is there even a machine free? Is my load done yet? Do I have enough change on me?
WeWash, an innovation spin-off of BSH Hausgeräte, could revolutionize the way we do our laundry. Three former BSH associates, Philip Laukart, Rafael Kirschner, and Kay-Uwe Clemens, had the idea of connecting machines and users. “At the end of 2014, we submitted our idea to the company suggestions scheme. Roughly a year later, we had already set up our own company,” says Laukart, the WeWash CEO. Those involved soon became convinced that a spin-off approach was the right one to take when it comes to such digital services. “Such a set-up allows us to act unbelievably quickly and freely,” Laukart says.
To use WeWash, no high-tech devices are required. Already existing shared washing machines are fine, once they’ve been equipped with a retrofit kit that can be easily installed between the machine and its power source. In fact, the laundry room doesn't even need an internet connection. Payment is cashless via credit card or direct debit. Bad news for pickpockets, but good news for building managers – and quite a few new customer groups, ranging from operators of micro-apartments and student housing all the way to hotel groups. This attractive service puts them a step ahead of the competition.
When approaching new customers, the three founders have been able to benefit from the strengths of the Bosch Group and its proven structures. “We collaborate with colleagues from Bosch Thermotechnology, who have been working with the real estate sector for a long time,” Laukart says. For example, the founders have been able to present their product at events organized by the long-established Bosch subsidiary. A head start that won't come out in the wash.
WeWash, an innovative spin-off from BSH Hausgeräte, connects washing machines and their users. Using WeWash does not require a high-tech appliance, which makes the technology additionally attractive for many new users.