I started selling junk from my basement when I was 7. I was a free agent in the very first QØ Catapult Incubator. I dropped out of Cornell to found Maidbot, where I'm CEO, and have raised $2,000,000 in funding so far.
A Young Successful Entrepreneur
Micah Green, young successful entrepreneur and CEO of Maidbot, wants his robots to become an integral part of the hospitality team during your next hotel visit. After a year attending the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Green saw a big issue. “It’s taken the same amount of time for decades to clean a guestroom,” he said. Rosie was created to assist a hotel’s housekeeping staff by cleaning floors while the human housekeepers performed other duties, cutting the time spent cleaning each room by 15-20 percent and decreasing rates of worker injury.
How did you awaken your inner entrepreneur?
Like most young successful entrepreneurs, I was born with the bug, long before I actually knew it. When I was 7, me and my friend got junk from my basement and sold it to neighbors, all the things normal entrepreneurs do when they are kids.
A few years later I got into robotics, mostly the programming side. I Played with a lot of robotics kits. I loved the idea of building something functional from nothing. I joined the robotics club and found this group of super passionate people. We were constantly looking up youtube videos on how to build things, all the information is out there, it’s not some future thing, it’s here today.
What drove me to keep working, was the idea of ‘bringing robots to the people’, not just in factories or movies, or on the Jetsons. This idea became real to me and not just in the distant future.
Tell us about your experience at QØ
I was looking for high school entrepreneurship programs, I kept asking How do I start a business in high school? and I’m so lucky I found QØ. I originally applied as a founder, I had an app called ‘Shark Puncher’, you literally just punched sharks. I didn’t get accepted as a founder, go figure, but I was excited to work as a free agent and learn as much as I could.
QØ was unlike anything I had experienced before. The sessions were 72 hour sprints, we would get there at 7am and not leave until midnight or later, it was amazing. You have this group of people that are throwing themselves at this problem, in the zone, working together, bouncing ideas, like a train that is constantly moving. I joined the School Scoop team, we were building a technology that allowed students to aware of what was going on at the school, and we actually licensed the software to school districts around the US.
Not only were my peers excellent, but the advisors and mentors and resident experts were so good. Hearing our advisors speak – it became real because I saw and heard case studies. It all seems like a fairlytale from the outside, but then you start doing it and immersing yourself with other people, you can do it, you can found a company.
I was hooked. After QØ, entrepreneurship became something more than a hobby, I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
How did Maidbot start?
I was working as a house keeper in a hotel as part of a hotel operations class at Cornell. I would work in the kitchen, front desk, and as a housekeeper. I Kept working after the class was over. I realized that the industry had been untouched for many years, innovation in the hospitality space was a huge opportunity. Because QØ had taught me to focus on really understanding the problem, I started bringing around a notepad, interviewing people, figuring out the toughest parts of job for them, digging deeper into costs, using a stopwatch to time each task while cleaning rooms. I had Quantitative and qualitative data. I was blown away by how old fashioned and traditional the whole industry was. The housekeeper role in particular, it has the highest variable cost, incredible injury rates, inconsistencies. The bottom line is it’s a dull, dirty, dangerous job that is perfect for a robot.
What’s going on currently at Maidbot?
We're Working on Rosie (a name taken from the Jetsons), our newest robot. It focuses on cleaning floors a task that takes 15-20% of the time when cleaning a room. But it’s more than just a vacuum, it’s a mobile computer in every room, an indoor data platform, that collects all sorts of information. We can figure out the dirtiest areas in a room, where people are spending their time, how long it takes to clean each room, potential for mold, start tracking other volatile chemicals.
We spoke with all these huge hotel brands, all who have tried Roombas and other popular consumer robot vacuums. They aren’t built for industrial work, the batteries would melt after a few weeks of continuous use. We are in talks now with Marriott, Hilton, and Wyndham to have them start using a fleet of Rosies.
Now that you’ve found product market fit with Maidbot, what are your days like
Day to day is always different, right now we are fundraising, trying sell investors on the vision of Maidbot. My job is getting investors and customers excited, keeping everyone engaged, and having our employees loving what they do. One of the things I’m most proud of at Maidbot is our 0% turnover, we have yet to have an employee leave.
What are you learning as CEO?
Patience, I’m a very impatient person, but I’m realizing everything takes time and just to be at peace with that fact. I’m also learning that if everyone does what they love, they will work the long hours. Running a company is a different form of education, it’s about interpersonal skills, prioritization, time management. I have no intention to go back to school, I prefer to get my education in the real world, launching companies.
What advice do you have for yourself when you were 16?
Drop out, just kidding. A big thing is passion and dedication and the effort that it takes. I had a lot of interests in high school and before that, I was always interested in lots of different things. But I would say really pinpoint what you care about and why you wake up and do that. I mean, you can dilute your time, there is always going to be something in the way or distracting, but screw obstacles, and reasons why not, why it won’t work. You have to completely put yourself in it to be successful. At QØ you are all in, all together with other young successful entrepreneurs, for the whole program, that helps direct passion into something that can have success.
What advice do you have for QØ alumni or high schoolers trying to start a business in high school?
The most helpful piece to me was surrounding myself with people who were passionate about what they did, it makes all the difference, once you get people who know what they are talking about guiding you, it completely shifts to the right stuff. It’s creating a family around you, I definitely consider QØ CEO Josh part of the family. Creating a family of people you love, you can create and orchestrate the building of anything, it starts with a fantastic group of people.