Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Washio’s Legacy

Yesterday, Washio — the laundry-on-demand startup operating in major American cities — issued an abrupt announcement that it was shutting down.

Andray Domise wrote a tweetstorm worth reading on it, which I’ve dropped into a Storify with some related items:

To recap, wash.io drives up the price of laundry, pushes laundromats out of business, makes cleaning clothes difficult for poor people [… and] then crashes and burns anyway. Leaving bankrupt businesses behind, and entire neighbourhoods where you can’t even wash your damn clothes.

We don’t talk enough about the chasm left when an unprofitable on-demand startup shuts down after “disrupting” the local economy. For instance, it concerns me deeply that Uber lost $1.2 billion in the first half of this year — a rate of cash hemorrhaging that no traditional taxi company could sustain. It sounds silly to imagine a well-funded startup like Uber going bankrupt, but what if they did? It’s happened to other big, high-valued companies over the years.