App-Preneur: Diana Muturia
From college dropout to app developer
The quintessential mark of a true entrepreneur is one that finds a need and fills the void. That is what Diana Muturia did when she launched the Clyn app—pronounced ‘clean.’ The Kenyan-born and raised founder came to the United States at 18 years old to study math and mechanical engineering in Texas. She dropped out during her last year due to finances—and moved to Arizona. “When I dropped out of college, I was in a very dark place in my life,” she explains. “Depression kicked in, and as a way of making the effort to get out of bed, I cleaned the house, then realized I can clean other people’s houses in my neighborhood here in Phoenix.”
Diana encountered others who did similar work and wanted to help them in some way, “That led me to meet beautiful people from all walks of life in the cleaning industry who had amazing unique stories. It just made me feel in my heart that I cannot waste my smarts. I have to do something to help them.” She also wanted to ensure she could help her family as well, who were all still living in Kenya including her mother, who is a single parent, her older brother and his three children. “I’m proud to say I am that auntie that seems to be well off and you can ask her anything,” she says with laughter.
I caught up with Diana to discuss Clyn and her path as a tech entrepreneur.
How difficult has the app development process been from concept to launch?
Clyn was founded in December 2015. At that time, it was difficult to find a team that would stick and develop the application. I had to go through teams out of state or out of the country to support the little team here. We later on realized that we needed local support and better expertise. It became very costly, but we’ve come so far.
“Most of the time, I was the only woman in the room, or the only woman of color in the room.”
Currently what is your strategy for promoting your business?
Mostly word of mouth, and putting out a lot of content to spread our message.
What sets your business apart from similar platforms that connect customers with service providers?
When we first started doing our research on other companies with websites and apps, we found out two key things: Although the Black and Hispanic community are the majority in the cleaning industry, they are greatly underrepresented from a commercial level to an algorithmic level. Most companies cater towards the consumers of the services and big cleaning businesses on their platform. But smaller service providers are mostly left behind. In the end, they don’t get much ROI in return.