NEWS: Startup Chases the Rabbit. Wing Looks to Compete With TaskRabbit…

With juggling work and family, many people just don’t have enough time to take care of personal errands.

Hiring someone to do that for you typically costs close to $40/hour.

TaskRabbit is the granddaddy of these services, having launched in 2008, with HQ in San Francisco. It assists with things like moving, putting together furniture and general handyman tasks.

An OC startup is giving TaskRabbit a run for its money, claiming its services cost less, are faster and are more efficient.

Wing has created a virtual personal assistant that can take a request within nine seconds and guarantees a response within five minutes.

It’s personal assistant service uses AI on the back-end. It provides users with a 24/7 personal assistant for $8.99/month.

The founders are Karan Kanwar (CEO) and Martin Gomez (COO).

Foundation

Wing took flight in early2018.

Kanwar had previously founded Glorbi and sold it for $100,000 to pay his college tuition at UCI. That company built a diverse array of web apps, including those for business automation and streamlining business processes.

That experience, in addition to Kanwar’s time working on AI tech at Morgan Stanley, taught Kanwar about automation, and more specifically, what businesses and people are interested in using it for.

Wing’s HQ is at UCI’s Applied Innovation incubator, Wayfinder, in Irvine. Applied Innovation is UCI’s innovation platform.

The startup was accepted into the Wayfinder program in mid-2018, after winning UCIs New Venture Competition, a campus-wide graduate and undergraduate business competition. Wing won $10,000 in the consumer services category.

Benefits of Wayfinder Incubator

Gomez said that Wayfinder provides Wing with “meaningful guidance” in areas including growth, marketing, financials and investor relations.

“Being located in OC is also important for us because our target market demographic can be widely found in Southeast Orange County in a concentrated area,” he told OC Startups Now.
Gomez defines Wing’s target market as young urban professionals between the ages of 23 to 38, “as they have an affinity towards technology, put a premium on their time, and have busy schedules.”

Wing has made its services available in Newport Beach, Irvine and Santa Monica.

Financing

The co-founders have bootstrapped the company with the $10,000 they won from the New Venture Competition; $2,500 from a UCI engineering competition; and $1,000 from UCI’s startup fund. See related story here on that fund.

Wing plans to open a seed round seeking $1.25 million in a few months. Those funds be used for operations, sales & marketing, IP protection and refining the company’s tech.

How it Works

Wing’s product is a mobile app that allows users to request any task, provided it’s legal. They can use their voice, raw text input or category/suggestion selection.

Wing’s AI system takes that user input, plans the logistics of each request and provides a cost estimate. It will also update the user with any necessary information along the way.

Wing contracts with “established and quality third-party businesses” to do the tasks, Gomez said. Wing bills users via Stripe, the industry standard payment processor, so the errand runners, and even Wing do not have any access to users’ credit card info.

Competition

Gomez acknowledged that Task Rabbit does the exact same thing, and has a huge headstart on Wing.

Gomez said Wing differentiates itself from TaskRabbit with more competitive pricing, faster response time and getting tasks done on the customer’s schedule, not the ones doing the tasks.

He also said that Wing’s software is powered by proprietary, self-improving AI, so there’s no human labor involved for request planning, pricing or support.

“These savings results in low price points for users and higher margins for us, producing a system designed for scalability,” Gomez said

Additional features include a “Habits” feature, enabling users to make routine tasks and services into frequent tasks without having to make future requests.

Board of Advisors

Aaron Shaffer, an expert in HR strategy and organizational development, is on the board.

Exit Strategy

Wing’s exit strategy is to be acquired by a giant like Google (Home / Assistant) or Amazon (Alexa assistant).


About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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