RIP Lazy Times

You’re going to have to do that chore yourself, because the venture capitalist won’t pay for it anymore. Exec emailed customers tonight saying it would “sadly” be folding its San Francisco “Errands” on-demand personal assistant service. Its home cleaning service will remain open in nine cities, though.

It’s extraordinarily late in San Francisco, so I imagine we’ll have to wait until morning for more details on why Errands went pear-shaped.

Exec came out the Winter 2012 Y Combinator class, led by and SocialCam founder Justin Kan. Soon Exec raised $3.3 million. It’s plan was to build an app that let you type in a task or chore, and have it done as soon as possible by a temporary personal assistant for $25 an hour.

The Execs would show up in jazzy black track jackets and cordially do whatever you ask. I once had an Exec move my car to avoid parking tickets when I suddenly went out of town, and they saved me a ton. I’ve seen friends successfully use Execs as dog-walkers, bartenders, and urban sherpas.

Alas, venture capital can’t finance our comfort indefinitely. It seems the service was losing money, and had to resort to hiking rates to $30 an hour and a 10% surcharge (up from 3%) to earn any margin.

One thing that was booming was the demand for cleaning services. It made up over 50% of orders and was back-breaking labor for the all-purpose temps trained by Exec. So the startup launched a standalone cleaning service and app that contracts experienced local cleaners. The price for the cleaning service is much steeper, currently $89 for a basic one bedroom and one bathroom job.

Cleaning worked and Errands didn’t so Exec will shut down the insta-butler service on September 20th and any jobs already booked for after then will be canceled. The cleaning app will live on, tidying up in San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and New York City.

I’ve reached out to Kan, but there’s no details on Exec’s blog or Twitter account about the shut down — just the email, which I’ve pasted below. Exec has scrubbed all mentions of its errands app from its website, though you can still see the remnants on its mobile site. I’ll look to do a more complete Exec Errands autopsy tomorrow after I’ve heard from the company.

One of the perks of living in San Francisco is you get to live in a venture capital-subsidized biome of services that aren’t actually financially viable to operate. But eventually, businesses have to pivot out of failed dreams and into cold, hard reality. Simply making it easier to book house cleaners is a lot less exciting than a “my wish is your command” app.

read full article on R.I.P. Lazy Times: Exec Shuts Down Errand Service But Keeps Cleaning

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