Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone take care of all of those various and sundry tasks that come up, week after week, that would be so much easier to manage, if you only had your own butler? You know – a sort of Alfred to your Bruce Wayne. Or Batman.
That’s what Alfred is all about – and hence the name. Alfred is the smart way to take care of weekly errands without having to do them yourself. Each week, your Alfred visits to take care of your grocery shopping, laundry, dry cleaning, and much more, for $99. Not bad for a taste of how the Other Half lives, but Alfred makes it affordable for the other 99% of us.
And you’re free to go about your business here in Gotham.
CEO and co-founder Marcela Sapone explains what moved Spark Capital, along with SV Angel and CrunchFund, to write the check.
Tell us about your service.
Alfred is the smart way to take care of weekly errands without doing them yourself. Each week, Alfred visits to do your grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and much more for a fixed monthly rate of $99.
How is it different?
We are a butler for the 99%. Imagine coming home to fresh groceries in your fridge, dry cleaning hanging in your closet and those shoes that didn’t fit finally returned. We are the one place to manage your routine and make sure things are done the way you would do them yourself — if not better — so you can focus on living your life.
Additionally, our members have an ongoing relationship with their very own Alfred, who gets to know them better and better each week. We take that relationship seriously and offer full-time employment and benefits to our employees.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
We’re targeting young professionals, busy families, our grandparents, entrepreneurs, and anyone who needs help and wants to get back their most valuable resource: time.
Why ‘Alfred?’ Were you Batman fans?
Yes! Who doesn’t want to feel like Batman? Alfred enabled Batman to be Batman – he kept the Wayne Household and the Bat Cave in order so Batman could focus on taking care of Gotham.
What’s the most requested service?
Dry cleaning and laundry are the most requested services today. While in beta for six months, we were able to give back over 10,000 hours to our members — a year and a half of time otherwise spent on basic tasks.
What’s your business model?
We charge a monthly membership fee of $99 that gives you unlimited access to services and once-a-week, consistent in-home service (and dry cleaning and laundry return two days later). If we can’t do the service ourselves, we will refer you to a vetted partner in the Alfred Network.
What was the funding process like?
It was a full time job, to be honest. I can’t remember how many times I travelled between the West and East coast, but I love talking to people about Alfred, so it wasn’t too bad! Also, it was a wonderful opportunity to get great feedback from a lot of really smart people.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Alfred is a relatively new concept – it always takes a bit of extra time and data when you are introducing a new category to investors.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our investors were impressed with our passion and commitment to delivering an amazing experience to all our stakeholders. While on-demand services are in vogue, Alfred is the next step. We go beyond demand, to automatically keep your home and life organized.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
The funds we raised will allow us to focus on growth initiatives such as key new hires and expansion into new cities. We plan to launch a consumer-facing mobile app in 2015.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Don’t just build a product you can build – build a product people want (and stay positive. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing because starting a business can be a 24/7 job).
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our goal is to continue to expand our membership base in our current locations. Then, the sky is the limit!
What’s your favorite NYC leisure time activity?
NYC is incredible. I love the Highline and enjoy walking through the very neighborhood-y parts of the west village. But hands down, my favorite activity is doing weekend yoga (and bringing Team Alfred along).