Fulltime HEL: Episode 11 - Elffe
Music has a special place in humans’ lives. Other than porpoises and whales, we’re the only creatures to sing. We do more than that of course. Humans construct and play instruments, we build elaborate musical structures and more than anything else, we ascribe meaning to music.
It can be sad or happy, mournful or inspiring. Music readily becomes associated with memories and that’s why it’s so easy to say a song or album is “the soundtrack of my generation.” And we are far from the first generation to make such a claim.
But before that…
Welcome to episode 10 of Fulltime HEL, the podcast about startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers and co-working spaces in Helsinki, Finland. I’m your host Gregory Pellechi.
On this episode, Elffe. That should be music to your ears. And with my copious mentions of musics you must be wondering what Elffe does. In previous episodes, when I promised their interview I kept calling them “those plucky people looking to help and making it easier to do just that.”
There is of course more to Elffe than that, but I’ll let them tell you what they do.
A startup straight out of Aalto University’s Summer of Startups, Elffe is an interesting take on the gig economy.
I mentioned the gig economy, also known as freelancing, because in effect that’s what Elffe is contributing to. Like Uber, TaskRabbit, eLance and a dozen other companies before it, Elffe is playing middle man. Of course, they’re doing it like their predecessors by leveraging technology to build a company that can readily scale and provide a service cheaply and effectively for the general consumer. And Elffe is doing just that, but with music.
In effect, Elffe is a human resources company, which means for this young company they’re going to have a lot of challenges to over come. Technology may make their business model more viable and easier to implement, but they’re going to have to manage client and customer expectations.
Elffe’s answer as it is with any firm utilizing technology these days is an app. A really nice designed one that provides family members, Elffe itself and the Elffes aka the freelancers an opportunity to see what’s happening. It’s through that app the freelancers submit photos of their time with the customers so their family can see what’s happening, and the customers can rate their freelancer.
The guys at Elffe are clearly trying to think this concept through and provide as clear and easy to use mechanism as possible for reporting. But their mention of allowing people to explain themselves means they recognize the complexity of life and how difficult that is to code. How that’ll play out once more people are Elffes and they have more unique situations to deal with, we’ll only know with time.
What was interesting in talking with Peik, Markus and Joni was their admission of how readily they’ve pivoted. They’ve pivoted not just during the Summer of Startups, but even during their earliest days when they were just talking about doing something.
There’s nothing inherently wrong in making a profit from helping, and if you can make it easier to help others — why not. So it’s great to see someone doing just that, and not merely focusing on another productivity app. Helping and getting paid for doing so is a topic I’m particularly sensitive to, given I’ve worked in the humanitarian aid and development field and I’m no angel. But more on that in a future post or possibly episode.
On the next episode of Fulltime HEL, Froodly, crowdsourcing our food before it goes bad.
Fulltime HEL was produced by me, Gregory Pellechi. Music is courtesy of Chris Zabriskie.