AUSTIN, TX—Maidbot, a company pioneering commercial service robotics, has closed a Series B round, which will accelerate production and enable deployments across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
The funding is being led by RB (Reckitt Benckiser), a leading health, hygiene and nutrition company and the makers of many world-renowned brands including Lysol, Dettol, Harpic, Finish and Mucinex. RB has recently established a Global Business Solutions division to support businesses such as Delta, Hilton and Avis to better serve its customers and consumers with enhanced hygiene standards.
Maidbot is partnering with RB to drive greater confidence in the hospitality and commercial real estate industries by innovating cleaner, more hygienic experiences for guests and employees alike, according to the companies. The two companies will collaborate to develop innovative commercial cleaning solutions which will drive the commercial robotics revolution and transform the commercial services industry.
“We’re delighted to invest in Maidbot’s vision to bring robotics to the commercial service industry,” Rahul Kadyan, RB’s EVP of global business solutions. “Maidbot has the potential to drive significant improvements to hygiene standards across many sectors. Through this investment and our partnership, Maidbot and RB will enable more businesses to reassure customers on cleanliness and deliver an enhanced hygienic experience.”
Octave Ventures, a leading venture fund supported by Peter Thiel that led Maidbot’s Series A round, also participated in the most recent funding round. In addition to Octave Ventures, several VCs alongside hospitality and commercial real estate executives and family offices participated in the round.
With the COVID crisis, Maidbot and its partners understand the urgent need to improve hygiene so people can participate in social interactions again. Maidbot is in the midst of significant growth partnering with the largest brands and real estate companies in the world: they service traditional hotels, resorts, major casinos, commercial real estate including office buildings, airports, apartment buildings, universities and stadiums.
“We could not imagine a better, more complementary partner than RB,” Micah Estis Green, president/CEO, Maidbot told Hotel Business. “As a world-leading brand and innovator, RB brings deep expertise around product development, sales, marketing and manufacturing and will help Maidbot accelerate our growth. RB has been aligned with our vision from day one and shares the same values which have helped build a strong foundation for the long-term. Together, we will be able to help people travel and fully live with confidence.”
Hailing from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Maidbot was founded and is led by 24-year old Green, and is now based in Austin, TX. The young entrepreneur conceptualized the idea when he was a student working as a room attendant at The Statler Hotel on Cornell University’s campus. While cleaning rooms, he realized housekeeping is a hotel’s highest variable cost; room attendants have the highest rate of injury; and staff still use clipboards and walkie-talkies. Green also saw similar issues in other types of commercial real estate with demanding cleaning operations.
“We are very excited to partner with RB to provide more robots to enhance hygiene in the hospitality and commercial service industries. COVID has had an unprecedented impact on these sectors and we are confident robotics can be part of the non-pharmaceutical solutions that make the physical world a healthy and safe place again,” Green said.
As the team designed the hardware and navigation software to optimize Rosie’s cleaning function for varied environments, they uncovered demand for predictive data that could provide significant added value to management. Covering every square foot of these commercial spaces nearly every day, Rosie can track environmental data from temperature and humidity to wifi signal strength. Rosie evolved from being just the first commercial floor cleaning robot to the first indoor mobile data platform—mapping indoor data over physical space for the first time.
Rosie is deployed at several of the largest hotel brands with enthusiastic engagement by the hotel staff and guests. Within days of implementation, general managers have commented on more consistency in their property’s cleanliness while room attendants have said reduced physical strain means they feel better at the end of the day and therefore can enjoy more of their time outside of work. Housekeeping management has also found the data insights to be as valuable as the improved staff productivity.
“This funding will accelerate the growth of our current product Rosie and enable us to accelerate development of our future products,” Green said. COVID has posed new challenges for operators, and we believe we can help solve some of those problems even sooner.
With a growing team, a finished Rosie product, production established, and now Series B funding closed, Maidbot is on track to scale its deployments domestically and internationally with large deals already signed in Europe and parts of Asia.
“Before COVID hit, the industry had one million open positions just in the U.S. as it was difficult to attract and retain talent,” Green said. “Since the COVID pandemic began, the industry has developed additional problems around decreased occupancy and increased cleaning times. We believe robotics will be instrumental in supporting new protocols, increasing consistency and driving greater guest confidence.”