Watch Assist launch on stage here.
This interview with Assist founder Shane Mac (left) and Head of Growth Adam Hofman was conducted by the team at Job Portraits during preparations for the LAUNCH Festival.
Let’s start with your elevator pitch.
Assist lets you message instantly with a local. Instead of using Yelp or Google, we’ll pair you in real-time with a local resident who can answer your questions and make recommendations.
Why this problem and why are the right people to solve it?
I hate searching. I think it takes forever. Assist solves a big problem we’ve had ourselves. For example, I was going to be in Silverthorn and I texted some friends and said, “Hey, I need breweries, coffee shops, tell me something to do here.” But nobody really knew anything, and I wished I could have just opened Assist. It’s about connecting with a real local who knows what the heck is going on, who can tell me what to do. That way I don't have to waste all my vacation searching. We want to be your friendly local. It's just like texting a friend.
What happens the day after LAUNCH and maybe for the rest of March, in your ideal world?
We're launching our beta at LAUNCH, so we’ll be letting in hundreds of people per week. Our challenge will be to get the response time down. It has to always work—no one can be left out. The app can’t tell someone, “Sorry, couldn't find a local!” So it's all about managing supply in the right cities, and then we’ll be growing our core teams in San Francisco and Seattle. We’re also excited to learn which use cases people benefit the most from, whether that's dinner recommendations, date spots, art museums, or shows, whatever. We have all of those categories now and we match inquiries to different locals based on expertise. But, you know, is it better for a traveler or locals? There are nuances we need to learn about... we’ll be looking for our sweet spot.
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