Rakesh Agrawal debuts new marketplace Redesign Mobile

Steven Loeb · April 29, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3d73

The site helps consumers have short-term sessions with providers, and get their questions answered

I did my taxes myself for the first time last year. Since mine are pretty simple, I was able to just go online and do them through H&R Block. I did have some questions, but getting the answers would have required me to schedule an appointment, and pay more than I wanted to. So I just figured it out on my own instead.

If you've ever needed a service provider, like a lawyer or an accountant, just to ask them a simple question, you know how frustrating that can be.

That problem is what sparked the idea for Redesign Mobile, a new marketplace, launched on Wednesday, for consumers to be able to connect with providers on a short term basis.

Redesign Mobile wants to make it easier to connect with professionals, by checking their academic credentials and professional certifications. Users can read expert analysis by the professionals before they pay, which can be done with a credit card online.

"The problem from the consumer side is that it is hard to find service provier when are looking for quick answers. Usually you are looking for a long term relationship, like a divorce lawyer or a full-time accountant," Rakesh Agrawl, CEO of Redesign Mobile, told me in an interview.

"There is a lot of friction when you are negotiating a contract, like a four-page agreement for an attorney. It's cumbersome, and questions don’t get asked, because it's too complicated."

With Redesign Mobile, consumers can just go online and ask a quick question without having to go any deeper.

"For the provider, this solves a problem that many have. They may have downtime, now they can make money during that downtime. Or they are in a non-traditional work situation. One provider we have, an editor, moved from Los Angeles to Mexico, where there is not a lot of market for her skills. Now she can use the platform to make some extra money."

The initial focus areas for Redesign Mobile are in going to be professionals in the following fields: consumer technology, personal finance, travel, user interface design, Apple products and design, law, retail experience design, Payments technology and freelance writers.

While there are other platforms out there that help connect people with these types of providers, like Lawdingo, the difference is that those sites are still trying to create long-term relationships.

"We are focused on quick answers, as opposed to on-going relationships, that go on for weeks or months," said Agrawal. "We provide answers to quick questions, with no super long relationships on the platform."

If they have more complex problems. Redesign Mobile can help make that initial contact, but the rest of the interaction won't go through the platform, and there is good reason for that: the providers are not going to want to pay out the 15% fee that the company takes on big contracts. For a $50 to $100 call, though, then it would be worth it. 

The providers set their own fees, and can connect with consumers either through calls or e-mails.

"A lot of providers in these fields are not tech oriented. So the ways we would do our business, such as through Skype, are less feasible. Over time that may become a  bigger part of our repertoire, though," said Agrawal.

Ultimately, there is a big opportunity in this space, potentially to the tune of between $10 billion and $20 billion, and that is because the way we work is rapidly changing.

"The work is fundamentally changing. The way we go in at same time, and everyone is in the same office, goes back to factory days when you had to have machines and they were not moveable. Now we can work from anywhere, and that is facilitating the ability to work whenever you need to, with more flexibility than current models," said Agrawal.

"For the consumer, we want to give them a seamless experience. Uber changed the customer experience, giving us the ability to track your vehicle, and press one button to get it. We want to give the same kind of seamless experience, so you can do it from your computer, press a button and your get answer."

Founded last year, and based in San Francisco, Redesign Mobile raised a small seed round of funding from ex, and current, Google employees, as well as ex-Twitter employees. While Agrawal wound not say how much the round was, he did say it was enough to "give us nine to 12 months of runway."

(Image source: redesignmobile.com)

https://redesignmobile.com/

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