January 29, 2016

Cornell Robotics Startup Revolutionizes Hospitality

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Maidbot, an Ithaca-based startup run by a Cornell student that combines hospitality and robotics, has gained attention in several competitions around the country, most recently competing against 14 other college startups in the RECESS Pitch Competition earlier this month.

Additionally, Maidbot was announced as one of 8 finalists in the Student Startup Madness competition — a collegiate startup tournament at SXSW — earlier this month. Maidbot will now have the opportunity to pitch to investors in Austin, Texas, in March.

Inspired by the television show The Jetsons, Maidbot is a robot created to assist hotel room attendants with housekeeping tasks.

Micah Green ’18, the founder of the company, had previously worked as a room attendant at a hotel. After recognizing flaws in the room attendant system, he said he saw an opportunity for robots in the industry.

“Hospitality as a whole is very traditional and old fashioned,” Green said. “With this new automated system we were really excited to revolutionize and transform the hospitality industry.”

Maidbot sets out to improve efficiency in hospitality by lowering the cost of cleaning rooms and the injury rates of room attendants while increasing consistency of cleanliness in hotel rooms, according to the startup’s website.

The current prototype was created to clean hotel room floors autonomously, however, Green said he hoped Maidbot will eventually be able to accomplish bigger tasks, including making hotel beds.

Green said the founders of Maidbot used their understanding of the hospitality industry to create a commercial product for everyday use in hotels.

“We’re designing this for a particular use, we specifically want to create a commercial robot,” Green said. “A Roomba burns out, batteries melt, the time efficiency isn’t there, it doesn’t clean fast enough or well enough. … We know what [hotels] need.”   

The company has worked closely with Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, and is based out of REV Accelerator Program — a startup incubator located in Ithaca. Maidbot was also supported by Life Changing Lab’s summer incubator program last summer.