Fetch, a mobile app that connects users with personal shopping assistants, launched today onstage at Disrupt New York.
Users can simply open Fetch and type what you want, record yourself saying what you want, or take a picture. Fetch has trained assistants on the other end who will look at your request, find the best price for the product you want, and order it for you.
When Fetch founder and CEO Tom Hadfield showed me the app last week, he typed out “Gillette Mach 3 razor blades.” We waited a couple of minutes, and an assistant showed us the lowest price, then ordered it through Hadfield’s Amazon account.
Hadfield grabbed the audience’s attention during his presentation today by taking his shirt off and purchasing the same shirt on Fetch faster than his teammate did on Google Shopping Express.
Hadfield argues that this human element will differentiate Fetch from automated services.
“Amazon is the 8,000 pound gorilla in the room,” he says. “But we think Amazon’s reliance on algorithms is its fundamental design flaw. I’m less concerned about anyone who’s taking an algorithmic approach.”
Fetch currently has 50 people trained as shopping assistants on the platform. The buying assistants are paid per transaction, and Fetch gets an affiliate commission from merchants.
Hadfield has founded three companies before Fetch. He founded his first company, Soccernet, when he was in high school; Soccernet later sold to ESPN for $40 million.
The company has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from Kapor Capital, Black Green Capital, Tamarisc, Cane Investments, Beechwood Capital, Thatchstone, Ryerson Futures, Tom Rutledge, RP Eddy, Michael Foster and Dariush Maanavi.
Fetch is free to download and use for the first month; it costs $5 a month after that. Fetch has set up an invite code, “TECHCRUNCH” for the first 1,000 folks who sign up. After that, there will be a wait list. You can check out Fetch now on iOS and Android.
The Startup Battlefield judges grilled Hadfield and the Fetch team about their margins, business model, and the benefits of real buying assistants versus automation after the presentation.