Milwaukee startup company Washbnb announced the launch of its wash-and-fold laundry service on April 7, tailored for the elderly and immunocompromised in the Milwaukee community.

The startup plans to assist at-risk consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic with personalized and safe pick-up and delivery services. Founded in February 2020 by Daniel Cruz, Brian Mandelin, and Cat Simpson, Washbnb was originally designed to provide linen and laundry services for Airbnb hosts.

The founders were moved by the devastating effects of the coronavirus and quickly pivoted their model to offer individual laundry services, supporting Milwaukee consumers, particularly those most at risk for the duration of the pandemic.

By implementing the expanded service, Washbnb plans to provide jobs for service industry employees who are currently out of work, including hiring people for wash and fold laundry and deliveries.

“We recently left our jobs, took a risk to start a company and received an invite to participate in gBETA, a gener8tor startup accelerator,” said Cruz. “As we kicked off our business, we watched the devastating effects of COVID-19 on our local community, the hospitality industry and the economy. “The idea came together when Cat noted many people without laundry machines don’t have a way to safely clean their clothes. We thought it would be great to offer a service that ensured safety for the community, while doing our part in supporting the hospitality industry with new jobs.”

Washbnb has carefully reviewed all sanitation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding COVID-19 and is following them carefully to protect its employees and customers. Each Washbnb bag holds about one standard sized residential laundry load.

“I’m so proud of the hardworking Washbnb team, which has made major lemonade after its intended market dried up a week ago,” said Molly Dill, director of gBETA Milwaukee. “Daniel and his team have shown great ingenuity and compassion by turning to help our most vulnerable populations in this difficult time.”

Washbnb also takes orders from people currently unable to pay and is accepting donations to cover the costs of washing those orders.

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January 2020. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following year, we have published hundreds of articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
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