Valentine’s Day can be stressful.
Those behind new startup Elves have decided to team up with Uber to help clients who forgot about the day, did not have time to plan or are just seeking a creative way to express their love.
Elves, which was launched in December 2015, contacted Uber and asked if they had set up any special plans for the day and proposed an idea that was thought to be “very fitting and unique” by the Uber team.
Their idea: cars to roam Cairo between 2 and 8 pm delivering chocolates, flowers and personalized cards.
“We always look to support growing startups alike, and saw that Elves were some of the strongest people to deliver a high-quality and consistent product to our riders on Valentine’s Day,” said Nour Ahmadein, marketing manager at Uber.
On the special day, Uber users will be provided with an additional option on the app named ‘elves’. The cars will be easily recognized by their pink color on the Uber map.
Upon requesting, the user can easily contact the Uber driver and talk to the elf, who will be sitting next to him, to personalize delivered items, with the writing of special dedications on the cards.
Karim El Sahy, one of the founders of Elves, said that 25 Uber cars will be available on the day with the service costing 200 Egyptian pounds.
But what exactly is Elves?
“You know how Santa has his elves that help him out to do anything, we thought everyone can be like Santa and have someone to help out,” El Sahy said.
The team, the same bunch behind the US-based business lead generation startup Konnecti, consists of 12 but as the startup grows, more ‘elves’ are expected to join in.
“Whether you want to shop for groceries, rent a car, book a flight, look something up, the elf will help you do that,” El Sahy said.
How does it work?
In order to test the theory for ourselves, Wamda decided to submit a request and see how responsive the elf would be. After typing a quick greeting, we were looking to rent a Porsche for the day and asked the elf to make it happen.
After requesting to know our location and the day on which we wanted the car, the elf found one and said that it could be delivered to us. They then sent us a secure link through which we could pay the rental fee and checkout. The process took about 30 minutes.
Less time is expected with simpler demands,however.
Messaging is becoming the new tool for communication in this generation, the cofounder said, explaining that the company aimed to capitalize on the slowing down of use of mobile application useage.
“We get requests through our app but more so through Facebook messaging,” he said. “This form of ecommerce is made for people who are busy but can afford a few minutes to make the requests”.
El Sahy added that the free service is “not for the elites” but for anyone who wants everyday help.
Who are the elves?
The elves can be anyone. El Sahy said that just like Uber, the new startup will operate using “the outsourcing method”.
People can register through the website to become elves. They can log on whenever they want and receive the minimum wage provided in their country. So far, the elves operating the application and Facebook messaging are engineers but anyone would be welcome to register, El Sahy said.
The elves are the number one priority for the company and even though users can not be banned for being indecisive, they can be banned if they are rude to the elves.
“Users can ask for as many requests as they want and never get banned but joking around and being rude to the elves will get them banned,” he said.
The company is targeting an aggressive expansion, El Sahy said, noting that they started operation in the United States, Dubai and Egypt.
“We would like to be operating all over the world,” El Sahy added. “We want requests to be submitted in any language and anywhere and be met”.
Elves is also looking to make a profit, but for the time being the company is focusing on its growth plan, with hopes to keep the app and service for free.
During the first week in February, the number of requests doubled the total number of requests made in the month of January. Currently each elf is able to handle a dozen requests at a time but the plan is to increase that figure to 100 requests per elf as well.