Justin Kan, founder of live-streaming platform Justin.tv, has a new venture called Exec that aims to make hiring temporary help as seamless as possible. Launching to the public Wednesday, the Exec iPhone app will let users hire exec assistants to do their bidding at a flat rate of $25 an hour (plus expenses).
If the idea sounds familiar, that’s because booking help online isn’t exactly new. TaskRabbit has sought to serve this market for years, and there’s always Craigslist if you’re looking to hire someone to move furniture, paint your house or do other work. Where Exec seeks to differentiate itself is with the “flat fee” nature of its rate and simplified booking system.
After logging in to Exec, a welcome screen that simply asks, “What do you need?” You type a description of your task — let’s say you need someone to buy groceries, or put together Ikea furniture, or pick up and deliver flowers or something similar — and the system dispatches the nearest exec assistant to take care of it. You can watch the location of your exec assistant as he or she handles the task for you.
For those performing the jobs, Exec is a way to make some extra cash in spare hours during the day. Most of those who have signed up work nights or part time, and all have been pre-screened and had background checks done by the startup. Exec is launching initially in San Francisco, with about 30 execs available throughout the city. For now, they will only be available from 9 am until 9 pm. And, of course, they can’t do anything illegal like drive you around town without a livery license.
Ultimately, Kan’s plan is to make hiring help as simple as possible, taking out categories of tasks and the process of negotiating a rate for the job offered. That’s a lot different from TaskRabbit, where users set their own rates for jobs and see if anyone takes them. One could argue, of course, that not all tasks are created equal, and that $25 might be too much or not enough for any given job. It’ll be interesting to see how that marketplace dynamic works out.
Kan’s departure from Justin.tv and focus on Exec is just one of a few changes that the live-streaming startup has seen over the past year. Former CEO Michael Seibel left to spin off Socialcam, an on-demand video-sharing app that was launched from within Justin.tv last spring. And over the past few months, Kan has stepped back from day-to-day operations of Justin.tv as the startup re-focused on the e-sports vertical with the launch of TwitchTV last June. At the same time, co-founder Emmett Shear has stepped up and taken over the TwitchTV push, with the legacy Justin.tv platform more or less just in maintenance mode.
Exec is backed by YCombinator, and is actually Kan’s third time through the program. His cofounders include his brother Daniel Kan, who ran Sales and Business Development at UserVoice, and Amir Ghazvinian, who graduated from Stanford with a Masters in Bioinformatics.