In recent times, there has been much ado about “last mile” services, with the likes of Amazon investing heavily into urban logistics and futuristic solutions such as drone deliveries. However, not many companies have earned the trust of consumers to the extent that they are able to give “last meter” services , coming into their customers’ homes and delivering goods and services in that most private of spaces.
New York-based PropTech startup Hello Alfred was set up in 2014 by co-founders Jessica Beck and Marcela Sapone to address this need and change the way people live in cities. With 80% of Americans expected to live in cities by 2030 and many of these in rental accommodation, they have positioned themselves in a fast-growing market, and claim to be the only company to have cracked the formula for that “last meter” trust.
Sapone explained to me that they are building a community to take on day to day life in every Alfred building. Each resident (Hello Alfred used to provide their services to individual apartments, but have since chosen to focus on multifamily buildings) can count on a dedicated home manager that acts as a PA for them. They can expect their groceries to be put away in the fridge, the dry cleaning neatly stored in the closet. Pets are walked, gifts are arranged for, and cleaning services are provided according to the residents’ needs. Alfred’s goal is to solve all problems that busy city dwellers face.
Behind this deceptively simple proposition lie some pretty complex operations. Hello Alfred boasts 300 staff in 20 locations, and claim to be adding a building and a person to the business each day. They have built an extensive suite of proprietary software which manages the resident interaction from the day they sign their lease to the moment they decide to renew or move out. This integrates with the property management software the building owners use, and in Sapone’s own words is “a power cord to leapfrog the traditional ERPs – on the back end we are taking everything that relates to residents and providing a resident user experience. Our aspiration is to provide other services such as hardware and to build tech into the buildings we operate in.”
Hello Alfred has sought, since the very beginning, to be one of the most trusted companies in the world. Sapone explained to me that they consider being invited into someone’s home to be a great privilege, and always seek to put the resident first and build a relationship that is not transactional. Communications happen via the Alfred app and face to face, and the experience each user has is unique to them. The data that is gathered is used for the sole purpose of providing better recommendations for each resident and is analyzed on an aggregate level to discern macro trends that will help shape the Alfred service offering.
This strategy has definitely paid off. Since its inception, Hello Alfred has raised a total of $63.5M in funding over 5 rounds. They won the entire Related rental portfolio nationally, and have since partnered with 37 real estate companies nationally, including Greystar, the largest multifamily operator in the US, which is using Alfred technology to create a new standard for residential living.
The company has ambitious plans for its future, as it continues to roll out new locations and app features, announced exclusively via this column. In the US, it has just launched three new markets – Portland, Phoenix and San Diego. These markets are now up and running, providing personalized and time-saving help for residents in partner buildings. With regards to its new services, all delivered via the Alfred app, it is in the process of adding guest authorization features, building message boards, amenity reservations, and key tracking, to name a few.
Hello Alfred seeks to be the one stop shop for multifamily residents, in the US and worldwide. They want to give urban dwellers back their time and headspace and, so far, it seems that their clientele is jumping at the opportunity!