Published January 20th, 2023
Why We’re Backing Presso: the World’s First EcoRobo Garment Care Machine
Ever get your only dress shirt dirty on a trip? What do you? Try to wash it in the sink, even though it will never dry in time? Maybe you try to steam out the wrinkles in the shower? Yeah… it’s not a good look. Don’t worry. We've been there too.
Washing garments, especially on the go, is tedious and time-consuming. Your other option, dry cleaning, takes days and requires harsh chemicals - not to mention the adverse environmental impacts. According to the EPA, ~70% of all dry cleaners in the U.S. use perchloroethylene, a known toxic air pollutant, as their cleaning solvent. Over time, these chemicals wear down clothing, shorten its lifecycle and contribute to the massive amounts of garment waste created each year.
Today, the textile and garment industry accounts for ~10% of CO2 output globally, more than international flights and shipping combined, with more than ~30% of the carbon footprint of any single piece of apparel coming from its clothing care after its sold.
Be it for convenience or sustainability, consumers have long needed a viable alternative to laundry or dry cleaning.
The problem is, no such alternative exists.
Businesses that offer garment care services, including hotels, have also felt this burden. The old-school way of handing a dry-cleaning request when traveling doesn’t make sense for most guests – it takes too long, and there are too many hoops to jump through to send a garment out for cleaning. With traditional turnaround times of 2-3 days, odds are, by the time your item is ready, you’ve already checked out. The process of taking orders became so resource-intensive and expensive to take off-site that for so many in the hotel industry, the pandemic forced cutbacks, and garment care services were some of the first to go.
That's why we immediately recognized the groundbreaking opportunity when we heard about Presso, the first on-demand, low-carbon, express garment care machine.
Presso is the maker of the world’s first automated, eco-friendly, express garment care machines that offer garment cleansing at a fraction of the carbon footprint, water consumption and on-demand speed of previous solutions. Presso's machines save both time and resources. They are 360X faster than traditional solutions and use 7x less water and 3x less electricity, ultimately reducing the carbon footprint from the aftercare of each garment by an astounding 93%.
In the long term, Presso's machines will help extend garments' lifetime by more than 4x. Without the use of the harmful substances found in traditional garment care, the company is also reducing the need for excessive textile waste and manufacturing with every service.
To help bring Presso to the hospitality and residential and commercial real estate industries, VSC Ventures is honored to announce our investment in Presso. We met the company through our friend Ryan Gembala at Pathbreak Ventures. For me, it was learning about the painstaking work the co-founders Nishant and Thibault had done to date, including moving to China for nearly a year to test out and iterate on all combinations of existing technology, that convinced me that this team was the absolute right one to turn Presso’s audacious vision into reality.
Our investment is part of the company's broader $8 million seed funding round with additional funding from Uncork Capital, 1517 Fund, AME Cloud Ventures, HAX, SOSV, Pathbreaker Ventures, and YETI Capital.
Historically, venture investors have shied away from climate technology, hardware, and robotics, given the historical capital investment needed just to get a product to market. That’s already changing and will continue to in this next decade.
With the barriers of cost and accessibility of scaled manufacturing coming down, we believe Presso is a pioneering example of a new class of climate-minded companies that can build a functional market-ready product with only a few million in capital raised. At VSC Ventures, we're committed to investing in startups that are good for the planet and the bottom line. Presso checks off both boxes.
Co-founders Nishant Jain and Thibault Corens' vision to bring a viable, sustainable garment care solution to market while creating new opportunities for enterprise profit maximization is exactly the kind of solution we're looking for.
Congratulations to our friends at Presso on the funding! We’re excited to be a part of your journey as you build a category-defining company in this $100B global industry.
Thank you so much for reading our latest update from VSC Ventures Fund I. We're in the early days of our long and healthy partnership with all of you, so please reach out to us with additional questions on anything above. Thank you again for your support for our vision and our fund!
Vijay Chattha & Jay Kapoor