Sustainable Design Faculty Member Wins Blackstone LaunchPad Pitch Competition

(From left to right) Mike Banks, Wash Cycle Laundry comptroller, Zoe McKinley, PhilaU LaunchPad director, and Gabriel Mandujano, Wash Cycle Laundry founder and CEO, show Mandujano's first-place prize.

(From left to right) Mike Banks, Wash Cycle Laundry comptroller, Zoe McKinley, PhilaU LaunchPad director, and Gabriel Mandujano, Wash Cycle Laundry founder and CEO, show Mandujano’s first-place prize.

Sustainable design faculty member Gabriel Mandujano, founder and CEO of the eco-friendly firm Wash Cycle Laundry, won the first-place prize of $25,000 at the Blackstone LaunchPad Demo Day pitch competition in New York on Oct. 28.

“We are extremely honored to have been chosen for this prize and excited about the platform the Blackstone LaunchPad provides as we expand from a local to a national company,” Mandujano said.

Mandujano, representing PhilaU’s Blackstone LaunchPad, was one of 20 LaunchPad entrepreneurs nationwide selected to pitch their businesses to a panel of Blackstone Charitable Foundation executives during the day’s first round of pitching.

After advancing to the final round of seven, Mandujano delivered his presentation to judges including Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, CEO and co-founder.

Mandujano, who teaches a course on sustainable organizations in PhilaU’s graduate program in sustainable design, said he believes he won the judges over with his firm’s commitment to both its business and social values.

“The judges saw a really viable national, scalable business model and saw our social and environment impact,” he said. “The combination of the two was really powerful for them.”

Over the past weeks, Mandujano has been utilizing PhilaU’s LaunchPad coaching resources to prepare for his pitch. Zoe McKinley, PhilaU LaunchPad director, who was at the Demo Day event, worked with Mandujano to refine his pitch and clarify his fundraising strategy.

Wash Cycle Laundry, based in Philadelphia, is an environmentally and socially conscious service that uses bicycle pick-up and delivery as a carbon-free means of transportation and high-efficiency washers and dryers to reduce water and energy use by about 30 percent. Since its start in 2010, the company has expanded to Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas.

Blackstone LaunchPad is a co-curricular, experiential, campus program designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and provide coaching, venture creation and other support. PhilaU’s Blackstone LaunchPad is supported by a grant from Blackstone Charitable Foundation with regional partners Temple University and the University City Science Center.

To learn more about the Demo Day pitch competition, click here.

Read more in the Philadelphia Business Journal.

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