Delivery From Inconvenience

High-Tech Butler Service Launches in NYC, Raises $2 Million

This could be your Alfred picking out your crappy all-natural, raw, vegan granola. (Alfred)

It’s hard to feel fancy when you’re living in a cramped, occasionally-roach-infested apartment in Brooklyn. But guess what? Now you can pay $99/month for an app-controlled butler.

Alfred, the TechCrunch Disrupt-winning app that calls itself “the first human-powered operating system for your busy life,” launched today in New York City and Boston. The company also announced the completion of a $2 million funding round, led by Spark Capital, additional investors SV Angel and CrunchFund. Read More

health alert

We Texted a Therapist From an Inflatable Igloo in Madison Square Park Today

Ms. Frank, far right, chatted with attendees outside the TalkSpace bubbles. (Photo by Jordyn Taylor)

Pedestrians in the Flatiron District might have noticed something different about Madison Square Park today: namely, two large, inflatable igloos stationed at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, each containing the setting of a therapist’s office.

Those who waited their turn to venture inside the cozy-looking bubbles would discover that they wouldn’t be meeting face-to-face with a therapist — rather, they’d be texting with one. Read More

XXX in Tech

Here Are the Pressing Questions Guys Anonymously Asked the Women of Lulu

Congratulations, you are normal.

Lulu, the app notorious for letting women rate the men they’ve hooked up with, is letting male users speak up — well, sort of.

Starting today, Lulu is publicly launching Truth Bombs, a new feature that lets men anonymously ask questions to the app’s female user base. The feature lets guys get feedback on how to be less shitty at relationships, and lets the girls get insight into all the profound philosophical quandaries questions about dicks and stuff that are circling men’s minds. Read More

App Economy

Over It: People Aren’t Downloading New Apps That Much

#NoNewApps. (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

New apps: who needs ‘em, amiright? Sure, it seems exciting at first to be able to order pizza or determine what a mannequin is wearing all from the comfort of your iPhone screen, but ultimately, don’t we all just want to check Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram and be done with it?

A recent survey by Deloitte confirms that the average number of smartphone apps downloaded per month has been decreasing over the past year in the U.K., the Telegraph reports. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Sure Why Not: Al Roker Debuts Weather-Themed Game for iPhone

Al Roker poses with fellow app creators Katie Linendoll and Steve Lunny. (Facebook)

Because you’re not officially a celeb these days until you’ve slapped your name on some crappy app, TODAY Show host and noted White House pooper Al Roker now has a weather-themed iPhone game.

The cheesy-looking app, called Al’s Weather Rokies, is based on the fateful day in 2013 when Mr. Roker overslept for the first time in his decades-long career, a press release explains. Here’s the premise of the game, which promises to be both “addictive” and occasionally indicative of actual weather conditions. How nifty: Read More

App for That

This App Will Help You Plan a Fabulous North Korean Vacation

Sign us up for everything! (Screengrab: iTunes)

Few things are more stressful than planning the perfect North Korean vacation. Which Kim Jong Un statues are most fun to visit? Which buildings are tourists strictly forbidden from entering? Which stores are best for purchasing “authentic” North Korean gadgetry?

Thankfully, there’s a new app called North Korea Travel, which aims to help users plan trips to the secretive country — or just learn more about it, without having to trust the country’s highly reliable state-run news site. Read More

Party Time

‘Fever’ Raises $3 Million, Hopes to Heat Up NYC Party Scene

Fever will make you cool, like these guys on the app's Instagram feed. (Instagram)

It’s a good day for Fever, the event discovery app that launched last year in Madrid. The company announced today that their service is now available in NYC, and that they’ve just raised $3 million in funding, to boot.

We made our way down to Tribeca last week, where the Fever team was hosting a launch party at Paul’s Baby Grand, part of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. There, we grabbed a drink with Pep Gomez, Fever’s 21-year-old founder. Read More

Wedding Season

Zola’s New App is Basically Tinder For Wedding Gifts

No, that pot's not going to send you a creepy "hey ;)" message. (Zola)

In the old days — before weddings were all about #tech — you had to go to an actual, physical store to compile the items on your wedding registry. Now, it’s as easy as swiping left or right on an app.

Zola is a service that lets couples create customized online wedding registries. Within one registry, users can ask their guests to buy them items from any number of stores (including Zola’s own collections), as well as intangible gifts like “couple’s massage” or “honeymoon fund.”

They can further customize the registry by adding personalized photos and notes to their guests about why they chose particular gifts. Once the gifts are purchased, couples can even decide exactly when they want the gifts to be delivered. Read More