Christian Padovan is the Founder and CEO of Wash Out, the Italian green start-up that washes cars and scooters on the streets, just acquired by Telepass.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Christian worked in the retail industry and as Sales Manager for an Italian mechanical engineering company.
Christian studied Law at Università degli Studi di Milano.
Q: In 2016, you decided to found Wash Out, a car and scooter washing service on the streets. What led you to this decision and how did the idea of Wash Out come about?
Christian: The idea of Wash Out came about when Andrea Galassi, one of the three co-founders, was in Dubai working for BCG.
In Dubai, Andrea used to go to city malls with his own car. Arrived at the mall, the mall staff always asked Andrea if he wanted to wash his car while it was parked. And Andrea washed it several times. One day, he noticed that, after washing, there wasn’t any waste of soap, other cleaning products or water on the floor around the car. So, he realised that Dubai city malls’ car wash service was a dry-cleaning service, even if a rough one.
As automotive enthusiasts, we looked deeper at the dry car wash products, and we found out that there are several producers of these products in the world, including one in northern Italy, which is now our main supplier.
We then tried personally some of these products, and the outcomes were pretty excellent for unskilled hands. Consequently, we came up with the idea of innovating the car wash market, changing the main industry paradigm: it is no longer the car driver who goes to the car wash, but the car washer going to the car of the driver. With two main benefits: time saving and positive environmental impact.
Q: So, Wash Out offers an environmentally friendly service. Can you tell us more about the business model of the company?
Christian: The environmental aspect of the service surely impacts on the Wash Out values, and in general on the whole business model. In fact, thanks to ecological products, we were able to create a door-to-door (or on the streets..) car wash business model, despite the regulatory constraints related to the use of water and the production of waste on the roads. In some countries outside the EU (for example the US), these types of regulatory constraints do not exist.
Wash Out provides both B2C and B2B services.
The B2C business model is based on our app. The goal of Wash Out is to offer a fully digital experience to our users.
At the moment, users can book an external car washing, with the possibility of specifying whether they are able to open their vehicles for internal cleaning (in person or through the car maker’s native app). In the future, with the increase in the connected car sales, we expect to be able to offer a fully digital experience.
This type of experience is already accessible to one of our first B2B customers, i.e. the car sharing, whose vehicles have all the features to take full advantage of the innovation of our service.
Q: What happened to Wash Out with the burst of the COVID-19 emergency? How did you react?
Christian: I would say that we were resilient, so we were able to make the most of the Covid-19 situation.
Before the pandemic, we were already considering new vertical cleaning and washing upgrade services to add to our offer. Therefore, it came natural for us to start offering the sanitation service. We offered it to fleets, and in particular to those companies that had to guarantee continuity services, as we were forced to stop other business lines, such as the B2C app. But despite that, our revenues increased during the lockdown. So, we had two super intense and satisfying working months.
Q: Few days ago, Telepass, the electronic toll collection operator for Italian motorways, announced the acquisition of the control of Wash Out. Can you tell us more about it?
Christian: The relationship with Telepass started with a commercial partnership, shortly after the launch of the Telepass Pay service platform, an ecosystem that aggregates mobility services.
At that time, Telepass was expanding the range of services, and therefore proposed us to become partner and provider of the car wash service. Wash Out was then integrated into the Telepass Pay platform, and offered to Telepass clients.
Given the first positive results of the partnership, Telepass was interested in strengthening our relationship. At the beginning of 2019, Telepass participated in a capital increase that was open, getting a 10% equity stake.
Few weeks ago, Telepass decided to acquire the control of the company, and now owns 70% of the company.
Q: How is the business going? What are the expected developments of Wash Out?
Christian: We plan to launch the service in new Italian cities, with the aim of becoming as widespread as possible. We want to bring our innovation in the car wash industry all around Italy, and provide a more ecological and comfier car wash alternative to the drivers. We plan also to expand abroad, very soon.
Q: What do you think of the Italian start-up ecosystem? What’s your view for the future?
Christian: Until a few months ago, I defined the Italian ecosystem “shy”, with many brilliant ideas, but often not adequately financed, and therefore without the possibility of exploding, as it happens in other countries.
Now, I am quite confident that these dynamics are changing, because of my personal experience with Wash Out, and because Italian corporates started to actively participate to the innovation ecosystem (for example, besides Telepass, Poste Italiane, which has already invested in various start-ups, just acquired Milkman, the last mile delivery service; Campari Group just acquired Tannico, the world’s largest Italian wine shop).
Hence, my view for the future is positive, hoping that Italian corporates will continue to invest in and provide capital to innovative Italian companies.
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For more info on Wash Out, visit: https://www.washout-app.com/