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By Alvin Mak
Butler is building the future of our home experiences.
In Hong Kong, it is abnormal to put leisure above work. The city’s cutthroat work culture dominates the lives of many. Hong Kong’s employed thus often find themselves out of time to maintain a comfortable home. Instead of being a haven for tranquil relaxation, to many, a home is merely a place to spend the night.
That’s exactly how three former investment and private equity bankers–Angues Chan, Jonathan Lam, and Jeffrey Ma–felt in 2018. Quality wellness and lifestyle were neglected, and replaced instead by unfulfilling socializing and brief periods of rest. This realization was the inception of Butler.
Taking the concept of domestic help to entirely unexplored heights, Butler’s offering is called ‘home concierge’ service, and can take care of anything else one may need for a home–from hosting a dinner party, to fixing a washing machine, or even arranging routine air-con maintenance. This is the startup’s signature offering, geared toward providing an absolutely frictionless living experience.
“[Butler is] a one-stop shop home service partner for anything home related,” Lam says. The startup’s butler staff, trained in-house, can take care of housekeeping, food preparation, grocery shopping and laundry, and much more.
Butler is looking to disrupt the domestic helper market of Hong Kong–an industry that is valued, according to the co-founders, at over HK$90 billion (around US$11.6 billion).
That said, the company offers a service that is distinct from that of traditional domestic helpers. Butler offers a well-rounded and all-inclusive product and experience; its employees are equipped with connections in all corners of Hong Kong’s service industry.
“We can provide recommendations on more specialized requests given our vast network of local trusted vendors, from finding the best quality flower delivery, to the best handyman, to the best catering or interior design companies,” says Chan.
Aside from Butler’s home concierges, who manage scheduling and address client requests, the actual butlers are professionally trained by the International Butler Academy to fulfill demands and carry out all requests. With unparalleled integrity and attention to detail, their services are also available to consumers at a few clicks through Butler’s app–much like Jarvis from Iron Man.
Moreover, Butler’s service has broad implications for the general standard of living in Hong Kong. Domestic helpers are a privilege afforded only to wealthier families, but the home concierge concept follows a monthly subscription model, which is much more convenient than engaging in a long-term contract with a domestic helper, and makes opting in more feasible for expats and couples.
“Butler is serving [expats] with our deep knowledge of the Hong Kong home market,” Ma explains. “Our value-add is also extremely complementary to young couples, who prefer to spend more quality time at home.”
Thanks to Butler’s accessibility through its website and its app, finding quality or premium household help is easier than ever before. Through tech, the company has provided Hong Kong with a more accessible, comfortable, and premium lifestyle experience.
With the aid of Butler’s business adviser, James Riley–Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental–the startup’s service quality will undoubtedly be boosted to even higher standards.
Butler is aiming high; the founders are dedicated to taking the lion’s share of the home service market. Beyond that, the company has regional ambitions, with plans to expand to other Asian major metropolitan cities over the next few years.
“We want to revolutionize the way people live,” says Ma, “and redefine the importance of home so you can return home as a highlight of your day, a comfortable place where you can find a peace of mind–something rather scarce these days, particularly in metropolitan cities.”
Ultimately, Butler sees immense amounts of unmet potential in the current lifestyles of Hong Kongers, and in the current concept of home. There is room for change, and Butler could be the right approach to work-life balance, better mental health, and healthier relationships.
A new milestone: funding for future growth
A company LinkedIn post recently announced new and exciting updates for the Butler community:
“As a local Hong Kong startup, Butler is thrilled to share another milestone – the closing of our HK$4 million pre-seed financing round this summer despite a volatile macro environment.
It has been led by an investor club consisting of very high-profile and strategic individuals with deep real estate and hospitality network, on a personal capacity, including the likes of Group CEO of Mandarin Oriental, James Riley, an ex CEO of a HK blue-chip listed Company with market cap of HK$240 billion+ and an Executive Director of a HK blue-chip property developer.
This will provide Butler the capital and strategic value-add for our next phase of growth. The capital will enable Butler to accelerate our business plan, particularly for expansion and provide the firepower to capitalize on our deep strategic network.
Butler, with the vision of being Asia’s leading home management brand, believes the market opportunities are immense as the market is disrupted permanently by the Pandemic. We hope you are as excited as us, to be the early mover, to build the future of home experience and ride this tailwind together.
This is the beginning of an exciting journey to positively disrupt the home management industry.
Collaboration with Farzon
Announcing our new collaboration with Farzon Group, bringing the future of home experience through our BUTLER Home Concierge Services to residents of the new HAPPY VALLEY EIGHT KWAI FONG.”
Article written in partnership with Butler.
Updated October 12, 2020 – Updates from the company regarding the newest funding round and the Farzon collaboration were added, pulled from the company’s Instagram announcement.