Housekeeping startup Maidbot attracts investment from vacuum cleaner giantNews / TechnologyBy Kerry Medina | January 25, 2018Share This article was originally published on Micah Green dropped out of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration after his freshman year in 2015. Since then, he’s closed a $2 million Series A round of funding for his startup Maidbot, of which he’s CEO, been named to Forbes’ 30U30 list and a 2017 Thiel Fellow and also guest lectures at Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management and the university’s Industrial and Labor Relations School.But most recently, Green’s company received an undisclosed investment sum from Bissell, along with 1517 Fund, Comet Labs and Rough Draft Ventures.The vacuum giant’s interest in Maidbot?Green says his company “can support them on the emerging tech and robotics side while Bissell can support Maidbot with its cleaning and operations expertise.”More specifically, Bissell’s investment will also provide Maidbot with access to the larger company’s extensive research and development, particularly in the area of wet cleaning as well as Bissell’s mass production and operations processes while Bissell will leverage the startup’s core competencies: robotics platforms for engineering, hardware and software, control systems and data.Green adds: “Bissell will also provide advisory support so we can bounce ideas off them and gain access to their experts."Share this quote Delivering data The pairing is, in fact, nothing short of logical as Maidbot’s launch product is Rosie, an autonomous floor cleaner somewhat similar to the Roomba, but designed for industrial performance and with the added feature of a mobile data platform that can provide users with detailed insights on mold growth and foot traffic patterns, among other things.The data component is also capable of detecting and predicting issues with Rosie so that Maidbot can proactively replace them free of charge.The technology, designed for use in the hospitality and retail industries as well as other commercial buildings, is intended to reduce injury rates among hotel housekeepers, particularly as it can clean under heavy furniture that housekeepers would otherwise have to move.Green says: “One of the reasons I came up with the idea was because of the amount of physical intensity involved with the repetitive motion of vacuuming. We’ve seen in our pilots that room attendants –89% of whom are female and over 60—feel better at the end of the day because we’re taking away a 35 pound vacuum. It’s a really tough job.”Share this quote The inspiration for Rosie came while Green was working as a housekeeper at Cornell’s Statler Hotel, part of a hotel operations class during his year at the Ivy League school. Realizing the room attendant’s job had changed little since the dawn of the 20th century when the vacuum was invented, Green devised the technology in an effort to expedite the housekeeping process.Three years after launching Maidbot, Green and his team –including the company’s chief technology officer David Moroniti who previously taught autonomous systems at Georgia Tech as well as former staff from Starwood Hotels and Resorts, SpaceX, NASA and Apple—will continue working with a number of hospitality, cleaning and retail brands on a series of three-month pilot programs through mid-2018 before delivering its first products by late in the year.In the meantime, Bissell’s investment dollars will go toward growing Maidbot’s sales and marketing efforts, engineering capabilities and accelerating the startup’s transition to mass production. Green explains: “We want to build thousands of units by the end of the year, so we’re ramping up manufacturing, getting operations set up with more people behind it so that it’s a sustainable process with quality control and a sales team large enough to accommodate the traction and interest that we’re receiving."Share this quote Maidbot’s total staff currently numbers 21.