The cleaning industry—an industry largely composed of historically disenfranchised groups such as women and people of color—is desperate for change.
With over 2 million housekeepers across the U.S., an overwhelming number of domestic workers live in poverty. Many of these workers barely earn enough to make ends meet. Unfortunately, this circumstance has been exasperated by COVID-19, where a significant number of domestic workers are either unemployed or experiencing a rapid decline in service requests.
Learn more about the current reality domestic workers face and the tech company, Neu, that is building equity by empowering domestic working women.
The Stark Reality for Domestic Workers Amid COVID
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute illustrated how the coronavirus has revealed the ways in which domestic work has been undervalued and it’s workforce under-protected. While employers are taking steps to practice social distancing, a large number of domestic workers have been left without work and the looming prospect they may lose their jobs.
In addition, with a disproportionate number of domestic workers being women, many have struggled with balancing their careers alongside the needs of their households. This has particularly applied to working mothers who, in addition to supporting their families financially, have opted to stay at home to support their children as caregivers facilitating e-learning initiatives while a majority of schools nationally remain closed. However, while some housekeepers have this option many do not and and have had the looming need to find work safely, forcing them to work in unsafe conditions to survive and feed their families—typically without adequate protection.
Opportunity for Change In An Industry Ripe for Disruption
Given the stark reality faced by domestic workers, the tech start up Neu is rising to the occasion to increase opportunities for domestic workers.
Neu—a tech platform that provides quality cleans, on-demand—primarily supports two customer segments: vacation rental hosts (Airbnb, VRBO, and more) and cleaners (domestic workers, housekeepers, or others). As a socially-conscious company, Neu has committed to building equity and creating economic opportunity for historically disenfranchised groups with their mission to make cleaning seamless, safer, and stress-free.
The 9-person company, headquartered in Seattle, WA, recently secured seed funding bringing the organization to date to having raised $800,000. In addition, the company’s founders are recent graduates of the 2020 Techstars Seattle cohort. And while ripe for growth, Neu recently expanded to Phoenix, AZ and has plans to enter a third market in early 2021.
Why Now And Why Neu?
“As a computer engineer who moonlighted as a professional Airbnb Superhost, I co-managed a profitable business that couldn’t scale as we lacked a reliable cleaning solution… we would take turns rushing to clean our Airbnbs during our lunch breaks… failing to do so had steep consequences, ranging from losing thousands in revenue from a canceled stay or future bookings from bad reviews,” says Kwame