After nearly three years delivering anything you want on-demand (in the greater New York City area), WunWun is shuttering. As part of the close, Alfred is purchasing assets, including key WunWun technology and parts of the WunWun team.
WunWun founder and CEO Lee Hnetinka will stay on as an advisor to Alfred but will not remain a full-time employee at the company.
Neither company would comment any further on the terms of the deal, but Alfred cofounder and CEO Marcela Sapone had this to say:
We’re really excited to learn from the experience of the first on-demand company and an early pioneer in the New York tech scene. We’re trying to control the full stack, the entire experience from order to beyond delivery, and this asset purchase helps us do that.
Earlier today, WunWun Creative Director Bobby McKenna tweeted that WunWun was shutting down and that he was available as a free agent. He deleted the tweet shortly after.
We’ve been receiving tips for the past few weeks that WunWun had laid off its helpers, which were contracted delivery people who carried out orders made through the app. Now we’re finally able to confirm with Alfred that WunWun is shuttering with pieces being sold to Alfred, the service that automates your home-related on-demand needs for weekly deliveries (priced at $99/month).
Alfred recently launched Hello Alfred, which allows users from all over the world (rather than Alfred’s main operational markets of NYC and Boston) to text the service to let Alfred handle placing home-related on-demand orders. The web app (soon to be available as a native app) focuses quite a bit on natural conversation between the customer and the Alfred platform, and looks just like an iMessage conversation (complete with a typing status indicator).
WunWun functioned by letting users place orders through an app and then sending that order out to SMS, so users could tweak things and get updates on the status of their delivery.
“We’re already heavily integrating elements of a conversation into the Alfred technology with Hello Alfred, and WunWun has invaluable experience facilitating the conversation thanks to their history using SMS and natural language for orders,” said Sapone. “As we build out our native app, conversational communication with our customers will be integral to the experience.”
The asset purchase will let Alfred leverage WunWun’s experience with SMS in the company’s onward trek toward easy conversations with users.