Need a personal assistant? This busy mom invented one
With the 24me app, she's helping herself – and hundreds of thousands of users – stay organized.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then Liat Mordechay Hertanu is the mother of necessity.
The Israeli businesswoman and mother of three was overbooked, overworked and overtired. Between long work hours, expanding grocery lists and piles of laundry and bills, she needed a better way to deal with it all.
In 2012, Hertanu and her husband, Gilad, put their heads together, hired designers and software developers, and came up with the smartphone app 24me. Hertanu describes it as “a personal assistant that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help people manage their daily lives, anticipate what’s next and accomplish their things automatically.”
24me now has hundreds of thousands of users worldwide, “students who use it to be on top of their schedules, assignments and social activities, busy parents that juggle their career and family life who use it to outsource errands and services, and business people who use the calendar for scheduling and who find the special alerts that 24me provides to keep you on time very useful,” Hertanu said.
Hertanu was recently named to Forbes’ list of "10 female founders to watch out of Israel." Her background in computer science and technology and 14 years of experience working for startup companies has served her well as an entrepreneur. Raised in Yavne, a small town south of Tel Aviv, she earned a B.A. from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, and got her master’s degree in international business from Washington University in St. Louis. She and her husband lived in Missouri for two years, followed by two in Stamford, Conn., before returning to Israel.
The oldest of four daughters of a software engineer and an elementary school teacher, Hertanu and her sisters “were exposed to tech and science from a very early age. I was a very active girl – I combined sports and science and loved it. My parents gave us great tools to use in life, and gave me a lot of independence to explore,” she said.
She enjoyed being able to grow up in “a dynamic place, a place that all the people are immigrants that came from different countries. It’s all a huge mix of cultures. People hardly sleep. Something is going on all the time, mostly unplanned. I think that that teaches you to live a very flexible life,” Hertanu said.
These days, her time is spent with her close extended family and on growing and expanding the international scope of 24me with Gilad. “It was my dream for many years to work with him together,” Hertanu said. “We complement each other, build each other. I learn a lot from him."
Their children – Daniel, 6, and Abigail, 4, who were born in the U.S., and Israeli-born Naomi, 2 – “are a mix of cultures, colors and minds. They make me so happy and proud. I think one of the best gifts that life gives you is to have children, see them grow,” she said.
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