If you've ever wondered if dry cleaning could be as simple as getting car service on-demand, you've imagined Cleanly. Founded by Tom Harari, the company came out of Y-Combinator, raised $2.3 million in their seed round and is dominating the dry cleaning marketplace. This is what makes Tom tick.
How did you get started with Cleanly? Why do you do it and how do you think you've gained the success that you have?
Like most entrepreneurs, I started Cleanly to scratch my own itch. I moved to NYC 6 years ago and found myself a funky apartment in Brooklyn with no washer and dryer. After 2 weeks of 60+ hours a week at my new job, I started to run out clean underwear. It was at that point that I asked "how the hell does anyone get laundry done in this city?".
It turns out pickup and delivery is quite popular in New York, which blew my mind, but the execution of it was more often than not frustrating and inconvenient. With the rise of apps like Instacart and Uber, it just made sense that something like Cleanly should exist.
Because my co-founder and I started the company to solve a real pain point that we personally faced, as opposed to thinking this would be a 'good business', I think that perspective has driven our approach to the product, service, and our perseverance in spite of numerous obstacles many young startups face. We really believe something better should exist in this outdated and antiquated industry.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you end up in NYC?
I moved to NYC to work at Omnicom Media Group's burgeoning Search Engine Marketing team where we were embedded with the media and strategy teams working on Fortune 500 accounts. Since then I've been obsessed with all things user acquisition, marketing, growth, and behavioral psychology.
What's the highlight of your career?
I'd be doing something wrong if I wasn't one upping myself every time, so there is no single highlight, just a series of highlights that get better. I've spoken at conferences around the world, went through Y Combinator, led one of the fastest growing companies in our YC batch, and just recently launched Cleanly's second market in Washington DC. There's much bigger things on the horizon.
What do you do for fun?
I love to cook, exercise, surf, snowboard, hike, read, and when I can find time practice playing guitar. I grew up playing bass.
What are your favorite places to hang in NYC?
Prospect Park was one of my favorite chill spots when I lived in Park Slope. It's a beautiful park and rivals Central Park in my opinion. Weekend nights I'm always up for some Mehanata in LES. It's an insane place that's totally fun to just let loose.
What’s something people who only know you through your work would be surprised to know?
I'm way too into Taylor Swift's music.