Mister Loo flush with hope

Mister Loo flush with hope

Cash flow generated 365 days a year

Mister Loo co-founders Andreas Wanner, left, and Dominik Schuler at a restroom.
Mister Loo co-founders Andreas Wanner, left, and Dominik Schuler at a restroom.

Seeking to capitalise on trends relating to hygiene and sanitation amid the pandemic, Bangkok-based bathroom startup Mister Loo is expanding throughout the country and region, marketing its amenity-filled toilets to members of the public willing to pay a premium for such conveniences.

The firm, which raised US$3.38 million in combined funding, has facilities at 36 locations within the country and hopes to install hundreds more across the region over the next five years.

The bathrooms cost 10 baht per visit for an air-conditioned unit and five baht for a visit to a unit that does not have air conditioning. The units also provide amenities such as touchless sensors, vending machines for hygiene-related products, lockboxes and even showers.

Mister Loo's co-founder, Andreas Wanner, said the company wants to attract customers concerned with health and sanitation standards exceeding those found in the traditional three-baht toilets found across the country. The firm's bathrooms also provide free toilet paper, something which is usually purchased separately at other paid bathrooms countrywide.

"During the pandemic, people are willing to pay more for a cleaner experience, especially in high-traffic, crowded areas," said the Swiss entrepreneur. "We are offering a very stable consumer product with very low operating costs and no marketing costs that creates cash flow 365 days a year."

The firm employs 85 people including cleaning staff.

Mr Wanner said the company's strategy is to target areas in desperate need of more public bathrooms, such as Yaowarat in Bangkok, as well as markets upcountry that do not have adequate facilities. The company has cut deals with shopping centres, such as Tha Maharaj mall located near the Grand Palace.

Mister Loo either pays the landlord of the property rent or a share of net profit.

"When we started, we thought it was a product mainly for tourists, but recently we have realised the potential of domestic locations," he said. "Our location in Isan is doing really well, and we've found even lower-middle class people are willing to pay extra for a better experience."

The bathrooms range in size and quality, costing between 1.4 million and 3 million baht to install. The larger locations can serve as many as 3,000 people per day.

Mister Loo facilities use sensors to indicate when toilet paper and soap is running low, when people go in and out, and how often each facility is cleaned. Mr Wanner said the firm plans to accumulate data for its customers, which it will one day be able to share with public health organisations.

The firm is testing a health kiosk that can be used by its customers to check various biometrics such as weight and blood pressure. It plans to raise Series B money in the first quarter of 2021 to make a push into regional markets, such as the Philippines. The company already has two contracts to set up facilities in Indonesia.

"We want to become the Starbucks of toilets. We'll have toilets on every corner so no one has to wait."

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