Disclosure: Street Fight adviser Rick Robinson, who until recently penned our weekly Turf Talk column, is a co-founder at Urgnt.ly.
When a pipe in your bathrooms bursts in the middle of the night, or you’re stuck with a flat tire on the side of the highway, you need someone nearby to come as soon as possible. This is the situation that new geo-location app Urgnt.ly was built to address. The service, which launched this week in beta, finds service workers “now and near,” connecting them with people who are immediately available to help.
Ric Fleisher, the company’s president and COO, tells Street Fight that came up with the idea for Urgnt.ly when his dishwasher broke in 2010 and and flooded a third of his home — he couldn’t quickly find nearby service providers to help him out.
He emphasizes that the main thing that differentiates Urgnt.ly from other location-based service-finding services (like Angie’s List, ThumbTack, Zaarly and TaskRabbit) is the emphasis on “availability” and location. Urgnt.ly isn’t a listings service, or a place to find people to help move your couch — it’s about finding qualified professionals to help you quickly when you need it. Urgnt.ly’s service providers provide not only provide their current location, they also indicate whether they are “checked in,” meaning that they are currently available to work.
“For service providers, this means they can grab opportunities in between scheduled jobs or simply go about their day waiting to be messaged by new customers using Urgnt.ly,” Fleisher said in a statement. “It’s a bit like a virtual version of the ‘on duty’ light atop taxi cabs, only people can see the light from our app and Website … and conversely service providers can see urgent needs posted by consumers on the same map.”
The service is currently only available in the Washington D.C. metro area, where Fleisher says the company has relationships with “the equivalent of several hundred technicians.” Urgnt.ly has agreements in place with a number of national and D.C.-area service companies that power the service. He says that information from Google Places will also be used in the future.
Below is a brief video that explains more about how Urgnt.ly works: