Over the past five months, the on-demand butlers working for Hello Alfred have worked over 40,000 hours, dry cleaned 57,600 shirts, delivered 3,326 pounds of dog food and carefully arranged 1,280 bouquets in homes. Now, the startup has another number it can point to to show its success: the $10.5 million it’s just raised in a Series A round lead by NEA and Spark Capital.
Hello Alfred was first conceived in 2013 by co-founders Marcela Sapone and Jessica Beck while they were students at Harvard Business School. In an effort to streamline many of the on-demand services currently available, Hello Alfred users can have an “Alfred” take care of tasks that are otherwise mundane for just $25 a week — restocking the fridge, doing that CVS run, or throwing laundry in the washing machine. It currently operates in both Boston and New York, but has plans to launch in San Francisco in June.
The company is now based in New York, but has employees in Boston. It raised $2 million in November, and distinguishes itself by actually hiring these assistants and paying them an hourly wage and benefits once they hit a certain number of hours worked per week, instead of playing the contractor-for-hire do-si-do that Uber and other startups in the on-demand sector use to maintain a labor force (with no shortage of legal controversy).
“Our mission is to automate the on-demand economy,” Sapone said in a statement. “In the last year, we’ve proven that we can delight our customers by anticipating their needs and doing their to-do’s as well, if not better than they would themselves. With this funding we’re ready to step on the gas and scale the Alfred experience to a wider base of customers.”