Alfred is the smart way to take care of weekly errands without actually having to do them all yourself, and frankly, who has time? Alfred pairs busy individuals (aka you) with organized, knowledgeable, intuitive people who know just how to handle all of life’s necessities – from grocery shopping to seeing to the dry cleaning and tailoring, to sending and collecting packages. And it’s an automated, hands-off, trusted service that just hums along quietly and efficiently in the background of your life
The best part is, Alfred gets to know your routine after a while, to pretty much anticipate your needs, which means a load off your mind, and extra time on your hands.
Cofounder and CEO Marcela Sapone explains why Alfred is such a hit with customers and investors.
Alfred is a trusted platform to manage all your services and automate your routine. We help and delight our customers by anticipating their needs and doing their to-do’s as well, if not better than they would themselves.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
NEA, Spark Capital, Sherpa Ventures and Crunchfund. $10.5M Series A.
Tell us about your service.
Hello Alfred is your personal home manager. We work with other on-demand companies to create frictionless delivery and automate your chores. Whether it’s laundry, dry-cleaning, grocery shopping, or coordinating deliveries — we even learns users’ routines to anticipate what they need done. So whether you’re an entrepreneur busy launching a business, a parent juggling work, or a young professional putting in long hours at the office, Hello Alfred will give you back your most valuable resource: time.
What inspired you to start the company?
It was the answer to the question: what if everyday errands and chores no longer controlled our lives? We dreamt up as a solution to the never-ending list of to-do’scaused by jam-packed schedules, juggling a full-time job, school, family, staying healthy, and trying to find what little time was left for friends and relationships.
How is it different?
Alfred is unique in several ways. First, we go “beyond demand” to offer an automatic, anticipatory service. We are building a service that wants to know what you need before you do. It’s like having the same Uber driver, waiting for you on the corner, exactly when you needed them, without you doing anything.
Secondly, our members trust us with access to their homes, which allows us to take care of their requests, without having to bother them. All our employees are vigorously background checked so our members have peace of mind and focus on more important things.
Finally, and most importantly, all our employees are W2, and not 1099, contractors. This has been important from the beginning, as they are our ambassadors. We think this is how you create a sustainable foundation for growth, as well as the higher quality experience.
What’s the oddest service a customer ever requested?
We’ve had a lot of fun orders – I can’t think of any “odd” ones. One of our members found out last minute she wouldn’t be able to make it home for Thanksgiving because of work. On a day’s notice,we made her a Thanksgiving shopping list, bought everything -turkey include -, and found someone to help with the cooking prep. She got home and everything was ready to go. All she had to do was the finishing touches and enjoy the holiday.
What’s your least favorite weekly errand?
Ha! It’s really all of them combined that that makes it hard, but if I had to pick one it’d be grocery shopping. I hardly do it because when I do, I waste hours looking for items.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting the $800 billion market for household-spend on services like ours.
What’s your business model?
We are a subscription service that charges $25 a week to visit every week. We then share the cost of the service by serving you and your neighbors.
What were the differences that you noticed when it came to raising this latest funding round, as opposed to the seed round?
You have to be able to prove your vision has traction. Numbers matter.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Figuring out how to pick the right investors for us. There is an art and a science to it. You want to find people who viscerally believe in your vision and can propel it forward.You also want to find people who gel with you and each other. You’re really building a team.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Two things. First, our customers’ response after using Alfred initially, then week after week.Second, a huge surge in demand, globally and nationally. People reached out and begged that we come to their city next.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have a lot of big milestones coming up, which is exciting. We’re releasing our app in the next month, and will be launching four new markets, starting with SF.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Hustle and don’t let “no” turn you off.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term I think we’re going to continue growing in our current markets by taking more people off our waitlist. We’re also going to start introducing new offerings and products, which we’re really excited about. We’re also looking to grow our NYC and Boston teams.
Now that it’s getting warmer outside again, where’s your favorite New York spot to kick back and enjoy the sunshine?
The Highline. It’s an awesome mix of new and old New York, with great places to stop along the way.