Camden Olivero, a SUNY Oswego senior majoring in business administration and in economics, recently had his startup Clotheslyne accepted into Techstars NYC, a national accelerator program that accepts only 1 percent of applicants and invests over $125,000 into their company.

Olivero, who said he is completing his degree part-time and expects to graduate in spring 2024, co-founded the company with longtime family friend and business partner Daniel (Dan) Feliciano.

Clotheslyne is a unique laundry service operation, where employees referred to as “Clotheslyners” pick up a customer’s dirty laundry, wash it for them, and then return it to their home. The pair’s business model is similar to services such as Doordash and Instacart. 

The benefits of acceptance into Techstars include networking opportunities, expert advice and lifelong assistance. Shortly after their acceptance, one of their initial significant experiences involved participating in a retreat alongside fellow entrepreneurs.

“We got to go on this retreat with all 12 companies … in Upstate New York to this facility,” Olivero explained. “We left reinvigorated and with connections between all of the founders, going as strangers and leaving as pretty good friends.” 

In December, learning sessions were remote, with topics covered including finance, fundraising, customer acquisition, customer delivery and more. Olivero says the sessions are not lectures as one would perhaps expect, and are more a collaboration between founders. 

“Then we focus on a thing called Mentor Madness,” said Olivero. “Usually it’s four weeks, Mondays through Fridays. It’s back-to-back mentor calls with venture capitalists, angel investors and experienced co-founders, who all give 20 minutes of their time to learn about Clotheslyne and provide any advice.”

The investors headed to New York City at the beginning of January for the rest of the program. The program will end with Demo Day in February, where each entrepreneur team builds a pitch and presentation for founders and investors. 

However, Olivero explained that the support and opportunity will extend beyond that point.

“The program ends at that time, but they say once you’re in Techstars, you’re in for life,” said Olivero. “There will still be things afterward like meeting with the people and checkups and things along those lines because they’re investing in your company and want to see you succeed.”

Olivero and Feliciano say they could not be more grateful for this experience.

“When you’re building a company for so long it’s definitely very stressful. Things aren’t going right and it kind of feels like the world is against you at times, so getting the validation from Techstars makes you feel like ‘okay, other people believe in my idea, believe in the team, Dan, me and it’s a really relieving feeling,” Olivero said.

Meeting an increased demand

Based on current market trends and customer needs, Olivero says this was a perfect time for the Techstars opportunity to arise.

“When we first launched we thought it would mostly be people who didn’t have washers or dryers and had to go to a laundromat, but what we’ve seen is a lot of our customer base is families who actually have washers and dryers but just the time and convenience we provide them is something they’re willing to pay for,” said Olivero.

Olivero believes the COVID pandemic has something to do with this increased demand.

“Since the convenience boom happened over COVID where people started paying a lot more for Instacart grocery delivery, Doordash, it’s something that a lot more people are willing to pay for nowadays,” said Olivero. “If Dad or Mom is doing the laundry and they have three to four kids plus themselves, they’re doing laundry for five to six different people at a period of time. It can become extremely overwhelming.”

Not only does the convenience of the service bring in customers, but their unique offerings are compelling as well.

“We’re more affordable and it also goes back to the customization. If you go to a laundromat, you’re just another one of the people coming in and dropping off your laundry,” said Olivero. “With our Clotheslyners, they’re able to provide a very personalized service. They’re able to offer hang drying, clothesline drying and other things our competitors aren’t able to do.”

Humble beginnings

Olivero, who lived in Oswego until right before the COVID pandemic began in spring 2020, says he got the idea for Clotheslyne when he was living in the dorms and some students were struggling to keep up with their laundry.

When Olivero thought of this idea, he knew he needed an experienced business partner. That’s when he joined with Dan Feliciano, a trusted family friend and business owner. The story of how they met is one of serendipity. 

“It’s just one of those things where it’s almost meant to be… My dad was an FDNY Engine 55 firefighter down in the city during 9/11. It just so happened that Dan’s brother-in-law was in my dad’s firehouse as well,” explained Olivero. “My dad and everyone in the firehouse signed a flag that said Engine 55 and had all their names on it.”

That flag was sent to Afghanistan, where Feliciano was sent to serve as one of the first military members there post 9/11.

“When Dan was on a mission in Afghanistan he flew that flag on his helicopter, so there’s pictures of Dan in Afghanistan with their helicopter and them holding it up.”

Dan Feliciano another soldier hold up the FDNY Engine 55 flag in Afghanistan.

Twenty years later, Olivero’s dad, who is a local realtor in the Hudson Valley, connected with Feliciano through a networking group. 

“My dad introduced me to Dan and I started working at his painting company,” Olivero said. “I ended up transitioning from working at the painting company as like a laborer… then came back as more of a project manager role, and that’s when we started working on Clotheslyne together.”

Olivero and Feliciano began operations in Orange County as a test market, along with Oswego and Albany, in 2021. In the early days of the company, he says a small Laker team helped with some day-to-day operations while he studied remotely during the pandemic.

“Some of my friends at Oswego helped move materials around, some of our early Clotheslyners were college students,” said Olivero.

Olivero said the courses he has taken at Oswego, especially in economics, allowed him to have the base knowledge to start his own company.

“The main thing I've learned from economics is applying correlation vs. causation to aspects and data in our business to ensure we're honest with our data and what inputs and outputs have truly impacted the numbers,” said Olivero.

Before Techstars, Olivero says they struggled to get the support they needed to run Clotheslyne.

“Where we live in Orange County, New York, it’s a running joke that we’re the wrong Orange County in a sense because you talk to investors or people who want to join the team and we say we’re from Orange County, and they always say ‘oh like California? Florida?’” said Olivero. “No one knows of Orange County, New York."

Currently, Clotheslyne operates in eight different states and over 30 different markets. The company still offers services in Oswego.

Those interested in utilizing the service or becoming a “Clotheslyner” can learn more about the company at