Lots of things can be summoned with an app now, at least in certain markets — drivers, carpool buddies, fast food, slow food, dog treats and shaving tools — so it only makes sense that the idea would extend to at-home tech support.
That’s the aim of HelloTech, a brand-new, LA-based startup that’s blending Best Buy’s Geek Squad model with the “need it now” demands of today’s tech consumers.
For $79 an hour, a HelloTech rep — likely a local college student — will show up at your house to fix things like a slow wireless router, a faulty printer or suspected malware on your computer. The company can also help with more basic requests, too, like if a consumer needs assistance setting up a new smartphone.
The main value proposition of HelloTech’s tech support service, though, is its immediacy: It is promising tech support within 24 hours of the initial request, with the eventual goal being same-day service.
“We are totally on demand and in person, scheduled at a specific time like 6pm — no two-hour windows,” said co-founder and chief executive Richard Wolpert, a tech and entertainment vet whose long list of previous roles include president of Disney online, chief strategy officer at RealNetworks and adviser at Accel Partners.
A series of HelloTech websites will offer additional support online, through product reviews and how-to’s. And finally, there’s a sales component to HelloTech’s business model: The company plans to sell partner products — a Sonos speaker or a Nest thermostat, for example — to consumers who seem interested in these things.
Which naturally brings up the question of how hard the company will try to upsell customers, but Wolpert insists that HelloTech reps only suggest products if customers indicate they’re seeking them first, and only if the product has gotten the unbiased thumbs up from HelloTech’s team. During the service’s beta test in Los Angeles, about a quarter of HelloTech’s support calls have resulted in sales of other products, he says.
“We think our primary demographic is people in their late 40s and up, whose kids are no longer home, own their home and have disposable income,” Wolpert said. “They’re interested in tech, but they don’t know where to get it.”
It’s still very early days for HelloTech, though, and there’s no shortage of tech support services available (whether “on demand” or not). The most obvious is Best Buy’s Geek Squad, which has a different pricing model. A single at-home visit can cost as little as $50, but that’s with an annual $200 Tech Support subscription fee. Otherwise, an at-home visit for something like spyware removal can cost as much as $250.
On the flip side, Geek Squad’s services are available to customers nationwide, while Hello Tech is only serving customers in Los Angeles, with plans to expand to other cities in the very near future.
Then there’s Ron Johnson’s newly-launched service Enjoy, which is selling popular consumer tech items and offering hour-long appointments to help consumers set up their new devices. But Wolpert says HelloTech is primarily focused on support as its core business, with supplementary services, while he sees Enjoy as a sales-first, support-second model. (Enjoy charges $99 for tech support around devices not purchased on its site.)
HelloTech has raised over $4 million in venture capital funding to date, with contributions from Accel Partners, Upfront Ventures and Crosscut Ventures, among other investors.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.