A NEW ROUND of investments have put cleaning robotics manufacturer Maidbot on the path to accelerated production and deployments across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The investors include Reckitt Benckiser, manufacturer of Lysol and other cleaning and health products.
Maidbot, founded by 20-year-old Thiel Fellowship recipient Micah Green in 2018, is planning on capital raised by its Series B round, led by RB, to fund the two company’s collaboration on cleaning products and services.
Venture fund Octave Ventures supported by Peter Thiel that led Maidbot’s Series A round, also participated in the most recent funding round along with several hospitality and commercial real estate executives and family offices participated in the round.
“We could not imagine a better, more complementary partner than RB,” Green said. “RB brings deep expertise around product development, sales, marketing and manufacturing.”
The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of cleanliness in the hotel market, said Rahul Kadyan, RB’s executive vice president of global business solutions. The purpose of the two companies’ collaboration is to drive greater confidence in the hospitality and commercial real estate industries by providing a more hygienic experiences for guests and employees.
“Maidbot has the potential to drive significant improvements to hygiene standards across many sectors,” Kadyan said. “Through this investment and our partnership, Maidbot and RB will enable more businesses to reassure customers on cleanliness and deliver an enhanced hygienic experience.”
The company’s “Rosie” robots are in use in traditional hotels, resorts, major casinos, commercial real estate including office buildings, airports, apartment buildings, universities and stadiums.
Rosie named after the robotic maid from “The Jetsons,” the 1960s animated TV show Rosie travels on the cart with housekeeping staff, who set them to vacuuming and data gathering while they clean the bathrooms. The robot stores a map of each room the first time it vacuums, so the next time it knows what to do once the housekeeping staff member inputs the room number.
“Even if Rosie does not have the map saved, she’ll move around and explore,” Green said.
The robot also tracks temperature, WiFi strength and other data that can be used to improve operational efficiency. In larger spaces, staff can attach a magnetic handle to Rosie that adds three to four feet to her height, making the robot more visible to guests for safety reasons. It even takes into account social norms in different countries when making navigational choices. For example, Rosie yields to the right in public spaces in the U.S. but yields to the left in the UK.
General managers at hotels where Maidbot has been in service said they have seen more consistency in their property’s cleanliness while room attendants have experienced reduced physical strain. Housekeeping management has also found Rosie’s data has 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.”
Green said Maidbot is planning deployments domestically and internationally with large deals 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.”