TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace application that matches independent contractors called Taskers to jobs completing everyday tasks including moving, packing, putting together furniture and cleaning. In a world where the so-called “gig economy” is growing, TaskRabbit employs just 60 people but regularly sends tasks out to thousands of independent contractors.
A recent study predicted that by 2020, this 40% of Americans will be independent contractors. The work is mobile, flexible and, at least through TaskRabbit, pays an average of 5 times the federal minimum wage.
To use TaskRabbit, someone in need of a task either downloads the application on their phone or goes to the website. The consumer then chooses from a variety of tasks and selects a time when they would like that task completed. The program then allows the user to choose their “Tasker” by their hourly rate. Once the task is completed, payment happens through the TaskRabbit app.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. TaskRabbit was Recently Bought by Ikea
In a somewhat surprising move, the Swedish company Ikea Group bought TaskRabbit on September 28. According to Recode, TaskRabbit will become an independent subsidiary within Ikea and the entire staff will remain.
According to Gizmodo, the science and technology website, the acquisition of TaskRabbit means that Ikea will start to offer TaskRabbit services in the United States and the United Kingdom, followed by other companies. It will allow Ikea to have freelance laborers to help install the furniture sold by the company. The acquisition is likely an effort to help Ikea compete with other companies that offer similar services like Amazon and Best Buy.
“We continuously strive to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers’ lives a little bit easier,” Ikea president Jesper Brodin said of the purchase in a press release on September 28.
2. The CEO of TaskRabbit is Stacy Brown-Philpot
After working as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for 3 years, Stacy Brown-Philpot took over as CEO in 2016. In 2015, Brown-Philpot was named one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40.
Brown-Philpot was born in Detroit and raised by a single mother. She says her mother could have seen benefits from a site like TaskRabbit when she was growing up. Brown-Philpot got her MBA at Stanford before working for Google for 9 years where she founded the Black Googler Network, a component of Google’s efforts around diversity.
Since becoming CEO, Brown-Philpot has worked on expanding the cities that are able to use TaskRabbit with the goal that TaskRabbit can be “everywhere for everybody and every device.”
3. The Company was Founded in 2008 by Leah Busque
The company’s history goes back to 2008 when the founder Leah Busque wanted to connect consumers with workers to complete random errands and tasks.
According to The Verge, the Busques founded TaskRabbit when they found they had no time to buy dog food and wished they could pay someone to do it for them. The company began with 100 “runners” in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2010, the name was changed from RunMyErrand to TaskRabbit and moved across the country to the San Francisco Bay area.
The company has received over $37 million in funding and has around 60,000 “Taskers” available to help consumers.
4. TaskRabbit is Available in 40 Cities
TaskRabbit is currently in 39 cities in the United States and also in London, but it is likely expanding soon. Since Ikea sells their products mostly worldwide and will likely want to use their purchase of TaskRabbit to sell more products, the acquisition could mean expansion for the company.
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Prior to March 2017, TaskRabbit was only available in 19 cities. It has since doubled that by expanding to 20 more cities in six months.
For now, to use the site, the user has to be located in one of 39 metro areas. According to the company blog, there are no firm launch dates for other cities, but they are working on expanding as quickly as possible.
5. TaskRabbit Currently Partners With Amazon
In March 2015, TaskRabbit announced that it would partner with Amazon Home Services. The platform offers Amazon shoppers a way to hire vetted and insured Taskers for services.
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The Ikea purchase of TaskRabbit will likely have an effect on the way TaskRabbit partners with Amazon, but details have not been released about what the acquisition might mean for the partnership.
Online shoppers who need help with things like furniture assembly and product installation can hire Taskers directly from Amazon’s web platform instead of having to open the TaskRabbit app or website. The partnership is the reason Amazon is able to offer the product with installation option on their furniture purchases.
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