For anyone running a business or working late, there just isn’t enough time to do all those simple tasks that should take five minutes to complete. Geoffrey is a startup based out of Berlin which lets you outsource tasks like tracking your lost package, scheduling appointments and researching places for a weekend getaway to a real living person.
To get started, users simply sign up at Geoffrey by typing in their name, email and credit card details. After which users can submit tasks by email to their fleet of assistants, who will get it done for you and reply back with the results. Each task costs €3.99, but the first one is free of charge.
To find out more about the startup, I got in touch with CEO Parham Mirshahpanah to ask him a few questions about Geoffrey. Check out his answers below to discover how it all got started.
What problem does Geoffrey solve?
Geoffrey helps customers resolve the everyday things that come up in life: Making phone calls, scheduling meetings, booking appointments, getting quotes from local caterers, coordinating with local print shops about getting the job done by the end of the week and more.
Geoffrey is especially helpful for non-German speakers who live and work in Germany. And Geoffrey gives back time to people that don’t seem to have enough hours in the day. Above all, Geoffrey provides your life with convenience.
What was your inspiration for Geoffrey?
German customer service is usually a bitter experience, especially if you’re used to the-customer-is-always-right mentality in America. We wanted to create a convenient and pleasant experience in taking care of your life’s daily tasks.
“What if we could just send a quick email with a task, and like magic, it was done?” That was the question that sparked the idea from which Geoffrey was born.
When and how did you realise there was a market?
We started talking with friends about it. And then they started using the service, and telling other people. One cool thing, is that we see people using Geoffrey for things that we didn’t think they’d use Geoffrey for. It’s always cool when you build something that lots of different people can use for lots of different things.
What were the first things you did when you founded Geoffrey?
In the beginning, we talked to a lot of people. We had this idea for a customer service experience, and how it could work, but we wanted to run the idea by as many people as possible to get their feedback and thoughts.
Then, after talking with everyone we knew, we started to work on the service: getting the tech together, figuring out how to explain it, designing and building a simple website and eventually getting our friends and their friends to sign up for our beta.
How did people first find out about Geoffrey?
Most people come to us through word-of-mouth from our customers, from Twitter and from a few blogs that have written about Geoffrey.
How did you find and approach potential users?
We find users at expat meet ups, by referrals from our current customers, email marketing and on Twitter. Our “sales pitch,” if you will, is simple: we want to make life more convenient. Need a table tonight? Looking for a cleaner for your apartment? Trying to find a print shop that can do a job by Friday? Let Geoffrey handle it for you.
How did you decide which features to include in the beginning?
From the start, we wanted to keep Geoffrey’s proposition simple: tell us what we can do for you. And that’s it. We don’t do physical tasks, like picking up your laundry, but we can arrange local deliveries.
Were there any assumptions that proved to be wrong?
We thought customers would much prefer a bundled pricing option, so that they could save money. But, flexibility was more important to our customers, especially given that Geoffrey is so new for them.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
In the beginning, we opened the service up for free to our first set of beta “users.” Unfortunately, when we started charging for Geoffrey, not as many of those users converted to paying customers. We probably should have announced our pricing plans at the beginning or started charging for the service out of the gate, or at least, way earlier than we did.
Just because there are people willing to fly business class, doesn’t mean those same people are willing to pay for it.
What advice you would you give first time entrepreneurs?
If organic growth is not happening, your product or service is still in need of development. Keep changing until you trigger growth. If you don’t change anything, you can’t expect a different result. And once you start growing, keep up the constant change to continuously improve. Your customers and market are always evolving, and you need to keep up with them!