Is that weird?
Not when you find out what Stuff, formerly known as Delegate, sells. For $50 a month, its mobile app gives you instant access to a network of personal assistants around the United States. They handle tasks such as sending flowers, finding a plumber, or booking the perfect rental home for a family ski vacation. You communicate with them via Stuff’s app — which feels similar to text messaging.
People like Ain, who runs a 12,000-person company, have their own personal assistants on payroll; his has been working alongside him for 25 years. “If she found out I was using Stuff, she’d come to my house and punch me in the nose,” he says.
So Stuff is a bit like Uber, Zipcar, or Turo — disruptive startups that give you access to a nice set of wheels at a much lower price than buying them outright. “It democratizes something that wasn’t really readily available,” Ain says.
Stuff CEO Ohad Elhelo likes to say that the company’s users get access to their own “chief of Stuff.” Other investors in the company’s latest funding round, announced last week, include Joshua Boger, the former CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and real estate developer Douglass Karp.
Elhelo is a former intelligence officer in the Israeli military who came to Boston to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Brandeis University. While he was there, he started a nonprofit called Our Generation Speaks, which provided business training and mentorship to Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs.
At the time, Elhelo says, “I was extremely overwhelmed.” So he signed up for a service from Zirtual, an Ohio company that assigned him a personal assistant. “I worked with her for three years, and saw how sticky their service was,” he says. “But I also saw the shortcomings. She was