On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2014 Unreasonable Institute. They came to watch 11 ventures present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.
Here, in one of those presentations, Rising Tide Carwash co-founder and COO Tom D’Eri describes how his company has made a competitive advantage of a workforce that is 80 percent autistc. D’Eri points out that autistic people tend to be more comfortable and confident with structured routines like washing cars, and the advantage this gives Rising Tide is huge. The existing business that D’Eri took over in 2013 washed about 2,700 cars per month. A year later, Rising Tide washes more than 10,000 cars per month at that same location while boasting lower employee turnover. And the business is profitable enough that D’Eri is looking to expand nationwide, with a goal of employing 10,000 people with autism by 2020.