Israeli Startup 24me: The Personal Assistant in Your Pocket

Israeli husband-and-wife duo offer an app that keeps track of errands and helps get them done too.

Pay bills. Buy birthday gifts. Pick up the kids from soccer. Send the boss a progress report on the project. Congratulate Sam on getting engaged. Answer emails from customers. Return the lawyer’s call. Buy dinner. Pay that traffic ticket.

Sometimes life can seem like an endless to-do list, and keeping track of everything that needs to be done can seem like an impossible task. Enter 24me, an Israeli startup that aims to provide a convenient, user-friendly and efficient solution. Its application — one of several in the field, including the popular Israeli task-management application Any.Do — claims to help users complete most of these tasks with just one touch.

“We set ourselves the goal of fighting the frustration and inefficiency of managing our day-to-day lives," says Gilad Hertanu, cofounder and CEO of 24me. "The more we speak with people about the subject, the more amazed we are to discover how many people share the problem of managing daily life. People also tell us that their many errands, whether it’s paying service providers or even picking up a package from the post office, are a real bother. People have even told us that they live in a kind of depression and feel that their lives are managing them instead of the other way around.”

Gilad and Liat Mordechay-Hertanu, the company's cofounder and chief marketing officer, are partners in life as well as in work. In addition to running their company, they are raising three children – and it's no surprise that their idea for the company was inspired by their own personal need for a task-management app. Like many people juggling careers and children, Gilad and Liat realized that they were collapsing under the burden of ongoing tasks. So, in January 2011, after having lived for a time in Silicon Valley, where they studied, worked, started companies and had children, they decided to come back to Israel and solve the problem.

The company, which has seven employees, has developed an app which serves as a kind of personal assistant. It includes a task-management component and memos, and it even sends out cards for family and social events.

In the U.S. market, the application can interact with all sorts of other services, such as cable companies, telecommunications companies and financial institutions, and it allows users to pay bills with the touch of a button. The app can also transfer tasks to service providers, like sending someone to pick up the dry-cleaning, for example.

Last week, 24me launched a new version of the application that includes a micro-gifting option, whereby users can send gifts to recipients from leading retail chains. The application, which is available on the iPhone, will also be available on Android in a few months.

Since 24me was launched last October, it has managed and performed an estimated 13 million tasks for users. And hundreds of thousands of users have used 24me to pay bills amounting to more than $1 million. The most popular tasks the application handles are reminders of friends’ special events and interactions with service providers and banks.

“Time has taught us that people yearn for help in managing their day-to-day tasks,” says Hertanu. “There’s always a search for a way to complete the tasks all of us have more quickly and simply. We also learned that people give up on task-management tools because the tools become a nuisance after a short time, a static list that has to be managed.

"24me approaches the problem by focusing on two critical stages. One is creating a dynamic and personalized list of tasks for the user and planning their time. The other is using 24me to complete various tasks automatically — just like a real personal assistant.”

Tomer Appelbaum