Update: I’m sad to say, but GoButler has pivoted (as startups do) to only offer text messaged-based flight search and booking. The free general VA service described below is no longer available. I knew it was too good to be true! Please consider one of these alternatives or see below.
GoButler is an SMS-based virtual assistant service. They have assistants known as “Heroes” available to receive and respond to SMS messages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
They currently have around 50 employees. With their headquarters being in New York and home to most of the development team, and another office in Germany where most “Heroes” are situated. The company only came out of their BETA testing phase at the end of July, so they are still growing their team.
Go Butler secured $8 million in Series A funding this year, so it’s going to be interesting couple of years seeing this company grow.
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About Go Butler
There are three founders behind GoButler; Maximilian Deilmann from the UK, Navid Hadzaad from the US, and Jens Urbaniak from Germany. With this is mind It’s easy to understand their decision to have offices in the US and Germany.
With the service coming out of BETA at the end of July, they have opened up the availability to use the service in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Switzerland at the time of writing this. With further expansion into new countries expected in the near future.
Their target customers are busy consumers. So if you need a suggestion where to eat out, want to place a food order for delivery, or book flights – you can send an SMS to Go Butler and expect a speedy reply with an answer to meet your needs.
GoButler’s motto is “Anything you want. As long as it’s legal. Try it!” So if there is a service of product you want without the effort of finding it yourself, send them a text.
Customers are using GoButler to make travel plans, complete restaurant reservations, find and order products online, and get food delivered. You won’t be assigned a dedicated assistant, so it would be tough to delegate ongoing business-related projects or tasks, but for one-off requests, quite an interesting concept.
They process secure payments through their partner Braintree. There really are no hidden costs or charges, you pay exactly what you would pay if you had sourced the product or service yourself.
It’s really as simple as it sounds. All you need is a device to send and receive SMS messages, and you can use the service. They aim to respond to all queries within a few minutes, so this seems like a pretty cool “intro to delegation” service for people to test out and see how well they can text specific requests and instructions.
Plans and Pricing
This is what sets Go Butler apart from similar services: it’s completely free.
Founder Navid Hadzaad has stated they plan to keep it free too. There are plans to monetize the service from the B2B side. So you, the customer, should never be passed on any of the costs.
Plus, there is currently no limit to the number of requests you can make in any given month.
My guess is on the backend GoButler is earning an affiliate commission on any products they purchase on your behalf. But it seems like a heavy labor burden to respond to all the other non-monetizable tasks that inevitably will come through.
To sign up, just text GO to 25400. When I did, I got a response right away asking for my email, and explaining there is currently a waitlist to join. (I got in a few days later.)
Go Butler Alternatives
Go Butler was not the first company to think of the SMS-assistant model. There are several competitors vying for attention in this space:
- Magic – Magic has a very similar process to Go Butler. Customers can receive information on products and services via SMS.
- Operator – Operator has an app for smartphones enabling customers to search and shop for products through their interface.
- Scratch – Scratch is like a personal shopping assistant in a smartphone app, great for finding gifts.
- Fetch – Another text-message based shopping service, though when I tried it I didn’t get a response for days.
The main hook that sets Go Butler apart from all of these similar services is that it’s the only service to be completely free to the customer. I’m sure this will be a big factor when it comes down to a choice between which service to try for the first time.
(One friend of mine was using Magic and was absolutely THRILLED he was able to buy shorts through a text message, and was more than happy to pay the service fee the company tacked on.)
My main alternative for task-based assistance is Fancy Hands, and I’m confident GoButler has actually saved be a few tasks this month. Now I find myself using Fancy Hands for slightly higher level tasks with more in-depth instructions that are better suited to email instead of text.
Have you tried Go Butler? If so please leave some feedback below to help others with their decision.