Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2016 (Revised February 2017)

Hello Alfred: Come Home Happy

by Joseph B. Fuller and Carin-Isabel Knoop

Abstract

On a mission to "automate the on-demand economy," Harvard Business School classmates Marcela Sapone and Jessica Beck launched Hello Alfred in 2013 to provide subscribers with an "Alfred" to complete various chores for a monthly fee. In early 2016, the company has built an infrastructure, including a mobile app, to develop Alfred’s routes and respond to customer requests in conjunction with other service providers, for example grocery delivery services, in what the founders describe as their "B2B2C" business model. Alfred won the coveted TechCrunch San Francisco Disrupt Cup in 2014, and by April 2015 had secured $12.5 million in seed and Series A funding. The founders must determine the best growth strategy for Alfred. Should they expand Alfred beyond their present operating cities, New York and Boston, or should they focus on their current markets? Should they increase public visibility to attract more customers, or should they enroll landlords in Alfred and reach consumers in that way?

Keywords: on-demand economy; sharing economy; technology startup; technology; growth strategy; Business Startups; Business Growth and Maturation; Entrepreneurship; Mobile Technology; Strategic Planning; Service Industry; United States; Boston; Cambridge; New York (city, NY); California;

Citation:

Fuller, Joseph B., and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "Hello Alfred: Come Home Happy." Harvard Business School Case 316-154, March 2016. (Revised February 2017.)