Butler On-Demand Service Alfred Launches In NYC

Remember the last time you came home from work, plopped down on the couch, put your feet up, and relaxed for the rest of the night?

As reported on Uncubed, Boston-based Alfred aims to make the luxury of having a butler accessible to the average working man or woman; the service launched in Manhattan in November. For $99 per month, users can pawn off chores on an Alfred-employed – and as Alfred CEO Marcela Sapone stresses, highly vetted – assistant.

Alfred, of course, is not the first tech service to offer New Yorkers a break from arduous errands. What sets Alfred apart, however, is its automation. Assigned Alfred assistants will pick up on living habits and replace that carton of 2% before you can even say “spoiled milk”.

The company also differs from many other sharing economy startups in that it favors full-time employment over contract work for service assistants.

“We see that happier employees lead to happier customers. The investment in people makes sense in our business,” Sapone told us.

You can sign up for Alfred here.

Uber Begins Testing Out Its Carpooling Service In New York This Week

After launching its carpooling service in both Paris and San Francisco earlier this year, Uber is adding New York to that list. As reported on The Verge, the company said it plans to offer UberPool in New York, a city with a lot of people and a lot of cars, but often not people with cars of their own. UberPool, which launches there on Thursday, offers a way to share a ride with someone else who ordered an UberX ride along the same route. That promises to trim costs anywhere from 20 to 50 percent, Uber says, as well as cut downtime for drivers who are waiting to pick people up.

“On any given day, the vast majority of UberX trips in NYC have a ‘lookalike’ trip — a trip that starts near, ends near, and is happening around the same time as another trip,” Uber said in a blog post. “Most of these trips transport 1-2 people, leaving 2-3 empty seats. With UberPool we can match those lookalike trips together.”

Uber began experimenting with the UberPool idea in San Francisco Bay Area in August, promising up to a 40 percent reduction in fares. It expanded that idea to Paris last month, with a discount in the event that a matching co-rider could not be found.


Uber is not alone in matching up strangers who are open to carpooling, though the feature has attracted the attention of regulators that question its legality. Competitor Lyft (which Uber is in a fierce battle with), as well as Sidecar, launched nearly identical services respectively called Lyft Line and Sidecar Shared Rides in early August, with the same promise of cutting rider costs in half. That immediately brought the ire of the California Public Utilities Commission, which called those services illegal and threatened to shut them down.

The UberPool service launches in all five boroughs on Thursday, but is limited to iOS users. Uber says Android users will get the option on Monday, December 8th.