Interview APP Founder –Marcus Smith
Name Founder: Marcus Smith
Name Marketing Manager: Conrad Harley
Name Company: Inzone Adlink
Name App: Hey Jude App
Category App: Lifestyle on demand
Is the App created for a certain country-area or for worldwide use: The app is live in certain European countries, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. We open new territories all the time.
Hey Jude is an easy-to-use virtual personal assistant on (your) hand(set) 24/7 for practically anything that needs to be researched, booked, quoted, organised or even transacted. With Hey Jude your administrative drudgery is outsourced to a team of highly experienced specialist assistants or ‘Judes’ that pride themselves on delivering cutting edge services. The combination of a human customer interface combined with the best artificial intelligence (AI) systems means we have the operational flexibility to respond swiftly and effectively to customers’ requests. So whether it’s finding that special bottle of wine for your wine snob friend, booking a table at the hippest eatery in town, sourcing tickets to that sold out concert in London or organising an urgent flight to Abu Dhabi, we promise to do our very best to get it sorted – sans hassles and sans delay.
As Founder of this fantastic App, what was your motivation to create such an App?
HJ: “Marcus Smith was brought over to SA to work with PLP (The Hey Jude Holding Company), who have nearly 26 years experience in the Lifestyle Management space, his kids broke a drum that was in the house they were renting. It lay around in the house for months and eventually he asked the Lifestyle team at PLP to find him a supplier who could fix the drum. So, whilst they sourced a supplier quickly and efficiently, he still had to take the drum to them, pay for it, and this process got him thinking about an all-in-one service that could facilitate this kind of thing for clients. A virtual assistant that could also pay for the fixes, find the best supplier, negotiate the rate etc. Intro “Hey Jude”, a play on “Hey Siri’ but with much more capability than Siri. Let’s be honest, Siri and other AI assistants are very underwhelming.”
Why should Users download this App?
HJ: “Subscribers are all unique and they love the app for their own individual reasons. The fact that the app is very convenient, fast and user friendly, requests can be send either via text or voice enabled. For other subscribers it’s the fact that we are available 24/7 365.
We are a subscription-based service and all discounts we manage to negotiate get passed directly onto our subscribers. Apart from the money we save, more importantly, we save time, a precious commodity money can’t buy.
Subscribers love the UX and just as important want predictability and Hey Jude fits this niche superbly.”
What are the advantages compared to other similar Apps?
HJ: “Due to our unique combination of Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence, we don’t have many direct competitors. Our advantage is the fact that we use real people to make complex decisions and fulfil request using emotional intelligence. On the one side your personal assistant services like Amazon and Siri could be seen as competing, but they still have a way to go to perfect their offering. On the other hand, the early adoption in corporate engagements has seen us competing with traditional 3rd party service providers in markets that we previously had no presence, but our solutions here are unique and bespoke so we think right now we are on our own in this space.
Personalized and human interaction in solving of customers problems is Hey Jude’s biggest differentiator. It can do what technology alone can’t and maintains the human interaction when required without requiring the customer to speak to anyone. This is unique to Hey Jude, and has created enormous appeal.”
Can you tell something about the process, challenges, hurdles and time spent from the moment you start (The Idea) till the moment you launched the App at the AppStore / GooglePlay?
HJ: “We have been lucky in having the backing of the PLP Group to fund our start up and with that has come assistance with getting the product to market in not only the B2C but B2B space. Working with a company that has as many years Lifestyle Management Experience as them has given us great insights into what we offer and how.
In terms of AI, the rise is inevitable but to be honest there is lack of clarity over how and why and when. Everyone has a differing opinion, but what we do know is that it is changing the way in which we as humans work and interface with technology. This has been the biggest challenge in terms of how far we push the boundaries when adopting as part of our business model. The human element is key, but as we scale, we have to embrace future technological advances.”
Once you launched the App in the Appstore / GooglePlay, what did you do to promote this App to your target audience (user group)? Do you think Applepies (as worldwide rating and reviewing Online App Magazine) can have a certain role in this?
HJ: “We focussed on the territory that we originally launched in. The app was born and bred in South Africa and now growing up around the world. We originally focussed on a B2C target market, but soon realised that the B2B market was much easier to penetrate. It allowed us to focus on expanding at a much faster tempo.”
You as a visionary person, what is your view on the new technologies of the digital smartphone (App) world. Do you think that within 1 to 5 years Apps will be indispensable?
HJ: “Smart phone tech evolves at a rapid rate. One would be foolish to try and predict where it will all end. Even though we stay on top of what happens in the industry, we try and focus on our own brand. We have wonderful integrations and if a new opportunity in this regard presents itself will consider. AI is certainly the one key component to focus on.
In the Hey Jude world we refer to our AI as “Assisted Intelligence” as it reflects the combination of smart technology alongside awesome Jude’s.”
Are you currently (still) looking for investments or funds to finalise or optimize your App?
HJ: “Not at the moment”
What is the business model of the App (how does the App earns money?) Think of advertisements, premium subscribtions in the App etc?
HJ: “We are a subscription based service.”
Last but not least is there anything you want to recommend other creators/founders?
HJ: “I think they need some inspiration and a mantra to live by…. I got mine from Mark Twain who said “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”