Start-up offers location-aware marketplace for getting stuff done
The concept is drop-dead simple but difficult to pull off. Founder Leah Busque says TaskRabbit lets folks “outsource small jobs and tasks to other people in their neighborhood” — say, if you need dry cleaning or groceries picked up, house cleaning or yard work done, Ikea furniture assembled or a wifi system set up in your home.
“We’ve seen some really funny ones,” Leah said, “like, ‘Help me write a love letter to my ex-girlfriend to help win her back.’ Or, ‘Help me prank my office mate by wrapping all of his desk items in cellophane.'”
A simple way to connect customers with a local workforce
TaskRabbit works like this:
• Sign up on the site for free.
• Post a task — what do you need done and at what price? Use the app to voice-record a description and upload photos.
• The task goes out to participants (“TaskRabbits”) based on their location. They bid on your job, you confirm the best match, he or she goes to work, and TaskRabbit gets a small cut of the price.
Well over 2,000 people have signed up to perform tasks in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Antonio and Austin, with Atlanta, Dallas and Houston on the way. The company’s vetting process includes online applications, video interviews and a background check, which greatly weeds out the flakes (my term, not hers). Trust, safety and security are at the heart of the marketplace, Leah says.
Unlike online services like Angie’s List, TaskRabbit is not marketing the services of licensed electricians, plumbers and carpenters but instead is targeting regular folks — individuals in a community who can offer their free time, special skills and services.
TaskRabbit has 35 full-time staffers at its San Francisco headquarters with “city managers” across the United States, and it has $24.7 million in financial backing, TechCrunch reports.
In a phrase, TaskRabbit is about service networking rather than social networking. Check ’em out.
• Book: ‘A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing’JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.