Because there is no service that handles the mindless work of your daily life, it’s almost impossible to imagine what life would be like without any household chores. But the folks at Alfred have imagined such an existence, and are now offering the opportunity to purchase this charmed lifestyle in the great city of New York.
Alfred, our latest Disrupt Battlefield winner in San Francisco, has also closed a $2 million seed round led by Spark Capital, with participation from SV Angel and CrunchFund*. The company ties in with multiple on-demand APIs from services like Handy and Instacart, and automates all of your on-demand services to provide an already-done feeling every time you come home.
If you’re still confused, here’s how Alfred works:
Users are invited to join the service, and initially go through a relatively painless little quiz. With the questions, Alfred learns as much as it can about you. Do you like crunchy peanut butter? They need to know.
Once Alfred has basic information about you, they’ll assign you an Alfred. This is a pretty important relationship, given that your Alfred will enter your home twice a week and care for you and your home like a mother does for a child. That said, Alfred offers the opportunity to meet the Alfred, or at the very least, hop on the phone to discuss the details of your specific home.
From there, you can arrange to give a copy of your keys to your new Alfred, or use the app to scan your key and remotely offer a copy to your Alfred helper.
After that, all that’s left is picking a good schedule. Alfred comes once a week on a set day and time, and then again two days later. So what’s happening during these magical visits?
Well, your Alfred will pick up your dirty laundry, drop off purchased groceries, unwrap your delivered packages and put away the contents, and tidy up the house. The service handles the basics like grocery, laundry, and home cleaning, but also offers things like tailoring, shoe repair, and prescription pick-up.
“We want to take as much off of our members’ plates as possible,” said Marcela Sapone, co-founder and CEO of Alfred. “When a member asks for something we haven’t offered… if we can’t do it really well, we’ll be the first to tell them no.”
Things that were picked up in the first weekly visit, like shoes that need new soles or laundry, comes back two days later and is put away in its rightful spot. The beauty here is in the details. Alfred puts the paper towel on the paper towel roll, the toilet paper by the potty, and the food in the fridge.
On-demand services like Amazon Prime, WunWun, Handy, Instacart, etc. all make things easier for us. But they don’t go the last little bit. Sure, Instacart brings groceries straight to your home, but you still need to put them all away and throw away all those plastic bags. Dry cleaning is an easy on-demand service to enjoy, but again, you have to handle that last meter by putting everything away and tearing away the plastic.
With Alfred, you can forget plastic. Not only is everything delivered, but everything is done.
The service has been in beta for almost a year in Boston, and for the past few months in New York, and has revamped the back-end of the website to reflect what they’ve learned. During the beta, Alfreds have done over 10,000 hours of work (that’s a year and a half worth of chores) for users. Alfreds are employed on a full-time basis with health benefits, as opposed to the contract work you usually see in the on-demand business.
“One of the biggest differences we saw from Boston to New York is that New Yorkers get way more shoe repairs than our users in Boston,” said Sapone. “The recurring services for the cities are just a little bit different. New Yorkers also have way more dry cleaning.”
Alfred costs $100/month, not including the cost of groceries, cleanings, etc. and is available on an invite-only basis. You can learn more here.
*TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is also the founder of CrunchFund, but Arrington is no longer involved in editorial at TechCrunch in any capacity.