Richmond startup Sherah expands into NoVa with personal-assistant service for moms

Sherah Richardson Preddy

Sherah founder Kristin Richardson, on left, and Samantha Preddy, the company’s operations director. (Courtesy Sherah)

A local startup is extending its helping hand to working moms in Northern Virginia.

Sherah, which connects moms with personal assistants to help handle errands and parenting tasks, has expanded its service to Alexandria.

The move takes the company into its first, formal out-of-town market since it launched in Richmond in 2022.

Nearly two years into the business, founder Kristin Richardson said the company is more dialed in and she was ready to fast-track growth by moving into a larger market.

“We know we need to go to a bigger market to scale even faster. And we also know, now we’ve been doing this for 19 months, who our primary customer is,” Richardson said.

Richardson said the company has nearly 100 customers, most of whom are female attorneys and physicians. Customers are frequently from two-income households where both parents have professional careers and have two or more kids that are 15 years old and younger.

“Once you get that second kid, it pushes you over the edge. I know as a mom myself that’s when I kind of lost it too,” said Richardson, a mother of two. “Those are the families that really need the most support… those families are juggling really big jobs between kids and home and aging parents.”

Sherah’s pitch is that its team of contracted personal assistants can help clients better juggle their work and home lives by outsourcing some of the responsibilities of running their household.

Sherah lined up three on-the-ground assistants in Alexandria ahead of the market launch and Richardson expects those ranks to grow. While the contractors frequently assist customers remotely, Richardson said it’s key to the concept to have people who can go out and actually run errands.

“We need people on the ground who can help in person,” she said.

The membership-based program allows customers to assign a variety of tasks to the outside help, ranging from ordering birthday cakes and signing up kids for summer camps to tracking down a babysitter or setting up a doctor’s appointment.

A basic Sherah membership costs $100 per month, with a $1 per minute charge added for the time it takes a contractor to complete a task. A year-long membership is $1,200 and comes with an hour of free support per month.

Sherah plans to expand further in Northern Virginia, as well as to D.C. and Maryland in the coming months after planting its flag in Alexandria.

The company started to accept Alexandria customers last week and plans to formally launch the new market today (Monday).

To date, the majority of the company’s clients have been in the Richmond area. While there previously have been some out-of-town customers using virtual services, the Alexandria expansion is the first push into a new market with on-the-ground assistants.

Sherah attempts to set itself apart from other personal assistant services by utilizing workers who are parents themselves and based locally. The lived experience of parenthood helps contractors, most of whom are stay-at-home moms, better serve the company’s clients, said Richardson, whose own lackluster experience finding an assistant for herself inspired the startup.

“When I tried other virtual assistant companies, they didn’t really understand the breadth of the task list of a mom,” she said. Prior to taking on Sherah full time in early 2022, Richardson was chief communications officer at local concierge medical service PartnerMD.

Richardson said Sherah is profitable and has one employee. The company had a total of 17 contractors on its roster as of last week.

Looking ahead to further growth, Richardson said the company plans to embark on its first capital raise in June with a goal of raising $1 million.

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