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Hello Alfred’s personal assistants aren’t just for the wealthy anymore

Hello Alfred’s personal assistants aren’t just for the wealthy anymore
Marcela Sapone, CEO and cofounder of Hello Alfred. [Photo: US Department of Labor/Wikimedia Commons]

Hello Alfred is the personal assistant you’ve perhaps dreamed of having. It provides someone who can pick up packages and groceries while you’re at work, someone who can tidy up your home when you’re too busy, etc. That luxury has largely been afforded to premium-priced high-rises in the 16 cities where Hello Alfred operates. With the launch of a new platform, its personal assistants are coming to a new income bracket.

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Residents at buildings that contract with Hello Alfred get a personal assistant as well as certain services for free: a “tidy up” (not a full house clean) as well as shopping (picking up groceries, dry cleaning, party supplies, etc.). Alfred will also coordinate other services for free, but the client will have to pay for the services it uses. CEO Marcela Sapone says her company negotiates discounted prices with vendors. For instance, in New York, cleaning a one-bedroom flat costs $110.

Its newest version of Hello Alfred, an offering called Powered By Alfred, is pared down for more midrange dwellings. Again, Sapone says her company negotiates individual deals with each building, but Powered By Alfred is a little more plug and play. It essentially gives a building a tech platform to handle maintenance requests, rent reminders, and a light human touch. For instance, an Alfred will help move a new tenant into a building and be there to receive deliveries, but anything else the tenant might want they’ll have to pay for à la carte. Where the full-service Alfred is like having a personal home manager who checks in regularly, residents using Powered By Alfred are communicating with their Alfred entirely via the app.

“It’s more of an Alfred in your pocket than an Alfred in your home,” says Sapone. “We have Alfreds who are available and can be sent to the building in one-off ways based off of what services you’re going to do.”

The launch puts Alfred into 150,000 residences. The expansion comes roughly nine months after Hello Alfred raised $40 million in funding and hired Uber’s former director of engineering, Chris Haseman, as its chief technology officer.

Hello Alfred started as a consumer app. In neighborhoods with enough demand, residents could download an app and hire an “Alfred” to perform a variety of tasks as well as coordinate the ones that were beyond their expertise. Alfreds can book dog walkers, personal trainers, home repair people—you name it. As it expanded, it started contracting with buildings rather than going neighborhood to neighborhood. In 2015, it struck a deal with Related Companies to provide Alfred services to a few of its buildings. Two years later, it expanded to all of the company’s buildings, catching a lot of attention in the real estate world.

The new platform comes as real estate developers are turning to technology and beefing up their services to better woo tenants. In recent years, upstarts like Airbnb have blended the division between home and hotel, forcing developers to expand their concept of amenities in an effort to figure out what tenants want.

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