Washie Minority Co-Founders Launch Product to Eliminate Toilet Seat Covers for Good

Washie start up co-founders, Rob Poleki (Polynesian) & Dane Simmons (African-American), launch the Washie Toilet Seat. They are the first to infiltrate the industry with this invention. Their toilet seats have been installed in Airports, Hospitals, Arenas, Convention Centers, office spaces and are in negotiations with NBA arenas.

Salt Lake City, UT, February 22, 2022 --(PR.com)-- The creation of a high-tech and more hygienic toilet seat for public restrooms is a great success story for minority entrepreneurs Rob Poleki and Dane Simmons Jr. The Washie Toilet Seat (www.washieproducts.com) is the result of a collaboration between the two former college football teammates, who developed the device and are marketing it as a way to improve public safety.

Now found in a growing number of municipal facilities such as hospitals, sports arenas and airports, the Washie Toilet Seat uses a sensor to disperse an alcohol-based cleanser onto the seat surface to ensure a clean restroom experience each time, eliminating the need for paper seat covers. An app alerts maintenance staff when the seat’s dispenser needs refilling.

The Washie Toilet Seat is the brainchild of Poleki, a New Zealand native who grew up in Hawaii and played football at Idaho State University. He got the idea for it after not being able to find a clean restroom for his young son in an airport. He developed a prototype and got his first patent in 2018. After presenting his idea on “Shark Tank” but not receiving funding, Poleki reconnected with Idaho teammate Dane Simmons Jr., who had already established himself as a successful Black marketing professional and private investor. Simmons became the Washie company’s co-founder and serves as its vice president of sales.

“Dane’s grit, scrappiness and determination to win has set the stage for unimaginable success for our startup company,” Poleki says. “His energy and optimism have helped us overcome many trials, and I truly could not have come this far without him."

Washie Toilet Seats have been installed in more than a dozen public and private buildings, and the company is talking with other U.S. facilities and working to expand into overseas markets as well, responding to greater demand for touchless hygiene products that also reduce paper waste. A residential model is in development.

Simmons has previously invested in other minority-owned companies, including Root Diamonds in Salt Lake City and Abode in Chicago. He is a general partner with Atlanta-based 100 Black Angels & Allies, a venture capital firm that helped fund a $2 million “Rise of the Rest” national search to support Black business founders.

"Investing in companies with Black or other minority founders helps remove barriers of unconscious bias in the business world,” Simmons says. “My work with Washie is part of my ongoing effort to help level the capital playing field so that more of these types of founders succeed."

Dane Simmons Jr.
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Rob Poleki