How a Butler Service Called Alfred Won $50,000 at This Year’s TechCrunch Disrupt

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Another TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco has come and gone, and the results of the pitch competition have been decided. 26 companies, plus two Audience Choice winners, pitched their hearts out trying to impress the tech gods/ investors that made up the panel. This year’s winner of the $50,000 grand prize: butler service/app Alfred.

The finals panel was chaired by some of the most elite investors Silicon Valley has to offer:

Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital

David Lee of SV Angel

John Lilly of Greylock Partners

Marissa Mayer of Yahoo

Keith Rabois of Khosla Ventures

Kevin Rose of North design studios and Google Ventures

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Alfred’s pitch starts out:

“I’m Marcela Sapone, this is Jess Beck, and we are the co-founders of Alfred. And we are going to give you back the most precious resource you have- your time.”

Alfred, a Boston-based startup founded by Jessica Beck and Marcela Sapone, offers a butler service that costs $99/month for one weekly home visit, coordinating all the services individual startups like the online maid service Homejoy (which has raised almost $40 million dollars from VCs), dry cleaning delivery service Washio, and grocery delivery service Instacart offer into another middle-man that takes care of it all for you.

Alfred aims to cut into the 30+ hours of chores you spend a week cleaning and organizing your life and boasts of a 90% client retention rate over the ten months they have been in operation.

“So Dan could have scheduled a Homejoy cleaning or booked Washio to get his laundry. He could have even called Instacart to go grab him milk, but all of that takes time and coordination and the mental energy—Dan doesn’t want to give it. So instead Alfred anticipates that Dan will need to press that on demand button and works and acts in the background, coordinating across multiple verticals gluing it all together with a real person so that we actually solve Dan’s whole problem.

We knew this was coming. It’s here. The natural successor to ‘on demand’ is when the services in your life know you and they are automatic . . . So Dan can sit back and have his cereal.”

If you are thinking to yourself right now, “Seriously? This is the startup that win TechCrunch Disrupt??” then perhaps lets go over some reasons why they have found success:

  • It’s an incredibly simple idea, and simple is always best.
  • They identified a redundancy in the wide array of online services offered, simplifying the situation with one all-inclusive service.
  • The niche edge they have going for their win at TechCrunch Disrupt is that their service wasn’t very tech oriented, but still quite necessary and relevant to the people of the tech industry.
  • Their customer base is well set: busy business people and techies who don’t have time to clean, shop, or fend for themselves- but, most importantly, all of whom have money.

You can watch their whole pitch below:

Here’s another interesting fact: TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund was already an investor in Alfred (he’s also an investor in Uber) before the TechCrunch Disrupt competition, though he was not one the judges panel nor was he present in the judging room.

Do you find this year’s “best startup” impressive? Let’s hear what you think.

Source: ValleyWag, TechCrunch

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