Kwame Boler has won $50,000 from the National Black MBA Association’s Scale-Up Pitch Competition for his startup. The Seattle entrepreneur is working to innovate cleaning with Neu, a tech-enabled platform helping Airbnb hosts simplify their turnovers.
Boler founded Neu in August 2016 to solve a common pain point in the vacation rental market—getting your home ready for the next guest in a timely manner. By connecting Airbnb hosts with local cleaners, Neu provides hotel-grade turnovers including replacing linens and restocking toiletries.
“Through tech and ops, we get the apartments guest-ready in between guest stays. We route a cleaner directly to the doorstep right after the guest checks out and before the next guest checks in,” Boler said to Black Enterprise.
The Scale-Up Pitch Competition was geared towards Black founders in the early stages of developing their business. The competition—held in Detroit last month— aimed to encourage entrepreneurs to build companies that were scalable.
Boler, a former Boeing engineer, took home the grand prize after he entered the competition last year and did not make the final round.
“There were a lot of lessons learned from the experience overall and we went in with a fresh perspective and better expectation,” Boler said in an email to GeekWire.
He gave advice to young entrepreneurs of color in an interview with Black Enterprise, urging first-time founders to start building a relationship with investors early.
“There’s a growing mantra that’s quite prevalent within this industry, which is that if you ask for money, you’ll get advice. And if you ask for advice, you’ll get money. So be sure to do the latter,” Boler said.