Get a Personal Assistant on Demand With This App
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
There's no shortage of personal assistant apps on the market these days, but the fact remains virtual assistants —like Apple's Siri — are pretty limited in what they can do.
Sure you can do voice searches, set reminders, send voice messages and maybe reserve a table, but these apps could never replace having an actual personal assistant, until now, that is.
WunWun, a New York City-based startup, recently launched its own version of a personal assistant app, but its app actually gives you access to a human helper that will perform any errand or service requested. The helper will even give you a suggestion, if that's what you are looking for.
Think of it as the app that brings a real personal assistant to the masses, said founder and CEO Lee Hnetinka.
"It's what you need, when you need it," Hnetinka said. "I don't need a personal assistant everyday, but when I need someone, I can get someone."
The way WunWun works is pretty simple. A user opens the app, types or uses the voice feature to make a service or delivery request, and the app connects the user to a person, or "helper" as the company calls them, and the helper communicates with the user to find out the details of the request.
Once the user and the helper have finalized exactly what the user wants, the helper sets out to fulfill the order, whether it be a dog walked, package picked up or something delivered.
The company charges a flat fee of $15 for deliveries, plus any cost of an item that is requested for purchase, and $2 for every five minutes of service — which would include things like walking a dog or hanging a shelf.
When users register with WunWun, they provide their credit card information to pay for future services so that no cash is ever to exchanged, everything is just charged to the card. Since the helpers are well-compensated, no tips are necessary, Hnetinka said.
WunWun's service is limited to Manhattan and the iPhone for now, but Hnetinka said the company has plans to expand its locations and its platform soon.
"I can say pretty confidently that we'll be multiple markets before the end of the year, by 2014," he said."We want to focus on owning New York, then we feel like we can expand."
Hnetinka said he's aiming at having a helper located every three blocks in the city so response time will be fast.
"Right now we're onboarding helpers as quickly as possible," he said. "Most of our efforts right now are going to get as many helpers as possible."