A Startup Called Washboard Promises $10 in Quarters for $15. Really.
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The Fiscal Times
June 20, 2014

If it isn’t a joke, Washboard is one of the silliest business ideas of the year.

In a clear sign that the tech world is floating into a bubble, the company, which launched this week, allows you to purchase $10 worth of quarters online for $14.99, or $20 in quarters for $26.99. The coins are then mailed to you, the company explains, so you can have them handy for doing laundry.

Related: Mark Cuban on How Obamacare Could Help Startups

Sure, bank branches are closing, people are lazy and getting a steady supply of quarters in the mail every month may seem more convenient to some, but the startup doesn’t look to have huge growth ahead: It has about 20 customers and isn’t looking for any VC funding. Plus, most American homes have washing machines.

“I’ll admit it, it’s a little bit of a negative critique for the most part on Twitter, which is good,” Caleb Brown, a cofounder, told Gawker’s Valleywag.

That kind of response won’t survive the media spin cycle.

If Washboard isn’t the next Google, the co-founders, two software developers who first came up with the idea separately a year ago, haven’t wasted time. They launched the site Thursday morning and are already profitable.

“We haven’t put a dime in the business,” Brown, who is based in Pittsburgh, Penn., told The Fiscal Times, adding that the biggest investment has been his time. “We created Washboard so people wouldn’t have to go to the bank, but I’m going to the bank every day. That’s all I do.”

Brown noted that their profit margin is roughly 20 percent and their biggest expense is shipping, since quarters are heavy.

“I knew this would be a bit silly, yet there’s a market for it,” he added. “This isn’t necessarily my greatest achievement in life, but it makes sense.”

In other absurd startup news, Yo, an app that does nothing but let you send the word yo to people, also launched this week. Who says innovation in America is dead?

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Marine Cole has been covering finance and business for a decade and has written for publications that include The Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, and AdvertisingAge.