Avinash Samudrala is co-founder of AskSunday, a New York-based company that enables everyone to have a personal assistant to help them with everyday tasks like travel plans, restaurant reservations, and even wake-up calls.
However, these personal assistants are farther away than most: They are located in facilities in India and the Philippines. AskSunday, has put a new twist on an old idea by making personal assistants available via phone and e-mail. AskSunday has taken Web 2.0 to another level.
AskSunday – which is under the company name of Sunday LLC – does not designate one employee per client. Instead, Samudrala said, the company uses a pool-based model, which means that a customer may not speak to the same AskSunday representative each time. But the company stores each person’s data, so when a customer sends in a request (most come in via e-mail), AskSunday employees view someone’s request history, which gives them access to frequent flyer numbers, for instance.
However, Samudrala said AskSunday does not ask for personal information like social security numbers or bank account information. But the company does keep some information like credit card numbers securely stored in its system if customers want AskSunday’s personnel to purchase items.
Although AskSunday does not target any particular consumer group, Samudrala said the service could be helpful to mid-level professionals who cannot afford a dedicated personal assistant, but still desire a service to help them accomplish menial tasks.
Samudrala co-founded AskSunday with Steve Ludmer in November 2006, and the company began offering its service in July 2007. Samudrala said the two came up with the idea for AskSunday because both men were busy professionals and thought it would be a great idea to be able to have a person help to execute smaller tasks.
Prior to AskSunday, Samudrala worked for AEA Investors, a private equity firm.
Samudrala, whose parents are originally from India, said he had discussions about outsourcing with contacts and relatives, and he understood the cost of labor in India, the capabilities and the strengths of the Indian population, and the ability to successfully create a business that serves customers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Samudrala said his hope is to see his business in the mass marketplace.