Fancy Hands, a New York startup that provides users with personal assistants, has raised $1 million from a collection of top-tier tech investors including Lerer Ventures, betaworks, SV Angel and David Tisch. Like our founding fathers said, time is money, a lot of customers have apparently decided it's worth a monthly fee to save time on menial errands. Along with the funding, Fancy Hands is rolling out version 2.0. "Up until today, our site looked like it was created by some cracked-out programmer in the middle of the night, because that is exactly how I first built it," said founder Ted Roden. "Today, about two years after our launch, we're rolling out a new site, which thankfully had a real designer working on it."
The company offers a subscription service that gives users access to personal assistants and a certain number of tasks per month depending on how much they pay. You can ask for anything, from dog walking to grocery shopping. Version 2.0 has several new features: customers can now pay for items through Fancy Hands and have their assistants purchase them from a store, have assistants book dates their calendars and use one credit card to support multiple users.
"We had a lot of startups that use us and they would just pass around the company card and create multiple accounts. Now they can manage all that from one place," says Roden. Roden worked at the New York Times R&D Lab and then the startup factory Betaworks before striking out on his own with Fancy Hands. "My dream was to create my own full time job on my own terms and not take a huge pay cut," says Roden, who has a wife and two kids. "Fancy Hands has let me do that and then some."
Once the business was self-sustaining, Roden took some time to think about how far he wanted to go. "I wanted to test myself and see if I could build a working business, which I did. Now the question was, do I scale slowly, making a hire every six month as the revenue allows, or do I try to go big." Apparently the bet is on the big time. Roden will now have a million bucks in the bank and business that is cash flow positive. "In terms of creating a marketplace for this digitally connected, globally distributed labor force, I think we're just starting to scratch the surface."
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