Founder Feature: Kwame Boler
December 5, 2022
Meet Kwame Boler (he/him). He’s a serial entrepreneur seeking to positively disrupt the cleaning industry and he’s the Co-Founder & CEO of Spritz. We interviewed Kwame to learn more about what inspired him to start Spritz, his biggest learning opportunities, and his advice to new founders.
Tell us about your startup:
Spritz helps house cleaners automate and grow their business.
We remove operational inefficiencies so that house cleaners can focus on their job: cleaning houses! Our platform makes it easier for cleaners to price services, increase bookings, and improve client relationships. This saves customers 16+ hours a month, empowers them to make data-driven decisions, and doubles their earnings.
What inspired you to start this startup?
Our janitorial journey began 7 years ago when I struggled to find a cleaning company to support a vacation rental business. The lack of an adequate solution drove me to later co-found Tidy, LLC in 2016 – a tech-enabled cleaning company servicing Seattle vacation rentals. Tidy enabled me to develop vital industry insights, and in 2017, another team member and I pivoted to co-found neu – an uber for Airbnb cleaning. In 2018, my other co-founder, Claudius Mbemba, joined shortly after, and we bootstrapped the company to success. Then, while participating in the 2020 Techstars Seattle accelerator, neu was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, we persevered, secured their first institutional round, and scaled operations into a second city. Post-pandemic tailwinds stimulated growth, and with high inbound demand, neu was growing aggressively. However, growth was painful; while capital efficient, the business model was cash-intensive and required additional resources to sustain growth long-term. However, we saw a viable opportunity and path forward when evaluating our options.
While building neu, we learned firsthand that systemic barriers prevented the majority of housekeepers from successfully running their businesses and that the competitive landscape lacked a viable solution to best support them. By pivoting, we could capture a larger market opportunity, remove growth limitations, create more impact with less effort, and leverage their deep industry domain expertise as an unfair advantage. So earlier this year, we launched Spritz — a back-office, business-in-a-box for residential cleaners. After a few short months of the pre-launch of Spritz, we’ve seen 145% M-o-M growth on the customer waitlist and averaged 65+ signups per day in October alone, with unsolicited features on Forbes and Geekwire.
What ONE thing would help you out the most with moving your startup to the next step?
We’d love to partner with organizations like the National Domestic Workers Alliance as we’re mutually aligned in positively disrupting the cleaning industry.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting your startup?
With neu, we learned how important it is to involve customers in product development. Our first instinct was to build from intuition and 1st-hand experience; while we were often spot-on, we weren’t always right and this would result in inefficiencies and rework while developing the product. Leveraging customer interviews, surveys, focus groups, and data-driven feedback loops were critical to our success with Spritz.
What was your biggest mistake (aka learning opportunity) when you VERY first started?
One learning opportunity was introducing metrics and key performance indicators in a digestible way for our entire organization. As a data-driven company, our leadership was aligned with the goals and outputs; however, once we introduced a dashboard and incorporated growth discussions paired with visualizations into our daily stand-ups, our growth sky-rocked, and the team became best aligned.
What impact on your community are you hoping that your startup has?
With the SpritzDAO, the concept of being seen and valued as an owner is powerful — we anticipate that, similar to Squire, the psychological impact will influence mutually aligned decision-making, reinforce allyship, increase growth, and reduce churn. Most importantly, we believe our success will establish a precedent that will have a ripple effect resulting in mass adoption within the industry. This will disrupt not only cleaning and janitorial but all service-based platforms and redefine what it means to be a customer-first company.
Name your biggest motivator/inspiration to continue doing the work that you do.
It’s a tie; my team and our customers. I’m in awe of how incredible each of my team members are. We’re extremely fortunate to work with some of the best and brightest — all of whom are extremely motivated to bring our vision into reality. Our customers are our lifeline; without them, we could not exist. As a socially conscious capitalist, it brings me extreme joy to know that we’re creating something that adds value to their daily lives with healthy unit economics.
One piece of advice that you would give to a budding tech startup entrepreneur.
Treat this experience like a marathon and not a sprint. Many founders over-exert themselves under the impression that it will enable them to clear the finish line faster — however, it often takes twice as long and can cost three times more than anticipated. Plus, when you move too fast, you tend not to enjoy the ride or appreciate the moments along the way.
Anything else that you’d like to share with the Find Ventures and tech startup community?
We’ve kicked off product development! After spending months conducting a ton of customer discovery, we’re excited to be building our product and will be conducting a private beta soon. This is huge for us as focus groups and product reviews are validating that all of our hard efforts are soon to pay off.
You can connect with Kwame on LinkedIn and keep up with Spritz on socials: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.
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