Justin.tv has already gone in two directions. The main one is Twitch.tv, a video game-focused version of the original video streaming site, that by all accounts has booming traffic and revenue. The other one is SocialCam, a mobile video app spinout that’s also getting serious traction now. But the namesake cofounder Justin Kan is going in a third direction, with a new startup called Exec.
Similar in spirit to TaskRabbit, Zaarly and to some degree Postmates, the site-plus-mobile app (currently for iOS) lets you quickly order a task from the startup’s workforce — deliveries, chores, cleaning, even art. The main interface is streamlined down to a simple box that lets you type in whatever you want, in contrast to some of its competitors. Then it lets you choose where to deliver to, in a format that will remind you of Uber. Another key difference, from TaskRabbit in particular, is that this isn’t a marketplace where workers compete to bid down costs. Jobs currently go for a flat $25 fee, although Kan tells me they’re still experimenting with prices.
Like other online/mobile task services, Exec pulls in unemployed and underemployed people to complete the tasks. The company lists help wanted ads, then puts candidates through an interview process that includes a phone call, in-person meetings and a background check.
To be honest, I haven’t completed testing yet, as I’m moving apartments tomorrow. But I’m partway through. I’ve used the site to describe the task and provide my location and payment info, and I have someone scheduled to help me carry furniture at 6pm tomorrow. So far, so good.
Exec has been in testing the last few weeks, but Kan already has some meaningful anecdotes to share. A friend’s scooter ran out of gas on the way to a late night at the office, took a cab the rest of the way and booked an Exec at 6:26pm. An hour later, the vehicle was on site and refueled. Kan’s goal is to orient the site towards whatever a user might want (that’s legal, of course), and he says that someone has already managed to order an original piece of art for a birthday they’d almost forgotten.
Because there are so many different tasks that people might want, Exec also has specialized workers behind the scenes for particular types of jobs. Art creation might be a big one eventually, but so far manual-labor tasks like cleaning have been particularly popular.
Kan is, along with SocialCam and Justin.tv cofounder Michael Siebel, one of the latest Y Combinator founders to go back into the program. — for the third time, actually, as he’d cofounded calendar app service Kiko before Justin.tv. While he’s in the latest class this year (he and his two cofounders have built Exec in the last couple months), he’s also been a part-time partner at the seed-stage firm since June of last year, and he still maintains a strategic role at Justin.tv.
Look for the company to take Uber’s approach of spreading to new cities and platforms.