TaskRabbit

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TaskRabbit
Taskrabbit logo13.png
Web address taskrabbit.com
Slogan Do More, Live More. Be More.
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Marketplace
Available in English
Owner Leah Busque
Launched 2008
Current status Active

TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that allows users to outsource small jobs and tasks to others in their neighborhood.[1] Users name the task they need done, name the price they are willing to pay, and a network of pre-approved TaskRabbits bid to complete the job.[2] It was founded by Leah Busque in 2008 and has received $37.5 million in funding.[3] Leah Busque founded TaskRabbit when she had no time to buy dog food. She built this marketplace for people to help each other run errands. It was based on the idea of “neighbors helping neighbors.” [4]


History[edit]

The precursor of TaskRabbit was RunMyErrand, which was launched in 2008 in Boston with the first 100 "runners."[2][5] In 2009, Tim Ferriss became an advisor to the firm after meeting Busque at Facebook’s startup incubator, fbFund.[6][7] The firm accumulated $1.8 million in seed funding from venture capital firms, [8][7] and hired the company’s first full-time employee, Brian Leonard, a software engineer with whom she had worked at IBM.[9][5][10]

In April 2010, Busque changed the name of the company from RunMyErrand, which she found was limited by the word "errand," to TaskRabbit, which she described as "fun, spunky, and more memorable."[11] By June 2010, Busque and team moved across the country to San Francisco and opened operations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

One year later, in May 2011, TaskRabbit closed a $5 million Series A financing round from Shasta ventures, First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, Floodgate Fund, Collaborative Fund, 500 Startups and The Mesh author Lisa Gansky.[12][13] At that time the firm had 13 employees and 2,000 participating "TaskRabbits".[1] Within the next year, the firm expanded from Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area to New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Orange County.[14][15]

In July 2011, TaskRabbit launched an app, which allows users to post a task with an iPhone.[16][17][18][19][20] In October 2011, she hired Eric Grosse, the co-founder and former president of Hotwire.com, as the firm's new CEO so she could focus on product development.[21][22][23] In December 2011, TaskRabbit received an additional $17.8 million in a Series B round of funding;[13] At the time the firm had 35 employees and generated $4 million in business each month.[1][17][24] In 2011, TaskRabbit was nominated for a TechCrunch Crunchie Award for Best Mobile App and Busque was nominated for Founder of the Year.[25]

In January 2013, TaskRabbit hired Stacy Brown-Philpot as COO, Chief Operations Officer. Prior to TaskRabbit, Brown-Philpot was at Google for nine year in management. [26]

In March 2013, TaskRabbit introduced a new tool for their “TaskRabbit Business.” This tool allows businesses to hire temporary workers from the TaskRabbit users. Companies can hire temporary workers for multiple days, weeks, or months. The beginning of this tool came from a need of more workers for a several-week festival. Companies needed more workers to work the festival. TaskRabbit began offering temporary work with for this festival. After the success of recruiting workers for the festival, TaskRabbit continued this tool and it grew into TaskRabbit for Business. By using TaskRabbit Business, companies avoid a lot of paperwork. TaskRabbit handles all of the paperwork involved with payroll taxes, compensation, and unemployment insurance. TaskRabbit handles all of this legal work and takes 26 percent commission on these temporary jobs. [27]

In March 2014, TaskRabbit shut down its Business Services portal. [28] TaskRabbit's inability to retain the transaction on the platform is widely believed to be the reason for this shutdown. Platforms like Elance and Odesk are better designed to capture transactions as they allow workflow management on-platform. TaskRabbit matches users for off-platform exchange of work. [29]

In July 2013, TaskRabbit confirmed a layoff of 13 people, 20 percent of the 65 employees. The 13 people that were laid off were given one month’s pay. TaskRabbit Founder, Leah Busque confirmed that the layoff was due to changes in business opportunities and ventures. Busque states that TaskRabbit is focusing more on "mobile, geographic expansion, business services and marketplace operations." The layoff was an effect of the realigning of business ventures of TaskRabbit. [30]

Site structure[edit]

TaskRabbit has been described as eBay for real-world labor.[2] Users post tasks on the site and declare the maximum amount they would pay for it.[2][19][31][32][33] Pre-certified, background-checked TaskRabbits, the people who complete the jobs, then bid on completing the task.[34] The user then selects the TaskRabbit who is the best match for the task.[2][35]

People wishing to become a TaskRabbit must apply online, go through background checks, and pass an online quiz based on the company's manual, previously having to also submit a video interview.[20][36] The firm says that its workforce is composed of students, unemployed workers, retirees, and stay-at-home moms, with ages ranging from 21 to 72; it claims that some people earn over $5000 per month.[10][34] The firm generates revenue by taking on average a 20% cut of each task, previously on a sliding 12-20% scale depending on total price.[13][37]

TaskRabbit employs gamification techniques.[13] A leaderboard ranks the top workers, displaying their levels and average customer reviews.[2] The workers also see a progress bar showing the number of additional points they need to jump to the next level. Points are awarded for everything from bidding quickly and accurately on tasks to referring friends to the firm.[2] The level system is exponential: moving from level 0 to level 1 takes only 60 points, while going from level 20 to 21 requires adding roughly 1,700 points to your tally.[2] There used to be giveaways associated with these point levels, but now the levels are purely superficial motivation. Also, as the balance between work and rabbits shifts, the site has been known to employ techniques to weed out rabbits that are not performing up to their standards. The site disengages profiles often without warning, and forces rabbits to reapply for their position, as a means of optimizing the performance for remaining users.[citation needed]

Demographics[edit]

Many people look into TaskRabbit as a way to make extra cash on their free time. With the recent increase in layoffs, people from many different demographics have been looking into TaskRabbit for work. The education level of contractors vary from low to high. Out of the all the contractors, 70 percent hold bachelor’s degree, 20 percent hold master’s degree, and 5 percent hold a PhD. [38]

Many people are turning TaskRabbit into a full time job. Susana Jung was laid off from a renewable energy company in Silicon Valley. Jung looked onto TaskRabbit while she was searching for a new job. Jung now has stopped looking for a corporate job and is actively running errands full time. [39]

Reboot[edit]

On June 17, 2014, reportedly as a result of declines in bids and completed tasks, TaskRabbit announced[40] and began rolling out a complete reboot from its original task posting and bidding model to a temp agency type model,[41][42][43] which requires Taskers (the new name for TaskRabbits) to:

  • Post set prices by Task Category, enabling shopping for Taskers by price.
  • Be assigned ("invited") to Tasks instead of bidding for them.
  • Wear a uniform (TaskRabbit shirt).
  • Use the Tasker mobile app (iPhone or Android) for availability, scheduling, and chat.
  • Use a Tasker Calendar for availability and scheduling.
  • Respond to all assignments within 30 minutes.

Formerly independent TaskRabbits may effectively become like employees of TaskRabbit, raising potential income tax issues as well. The changeover occurred abruptly, as TaskRabbit sent out a memo which states that all tasks will be paid on an hourly basis, instead of on a per project basis. The full transformation was scheduled to be complete by end of July 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Moran, Gwen. Building a Business on Busy Schedules and Making Errands Pay. Entrepreneur. November 21, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Tsotsis, Alexia. TaskRabbit Turns Grunt Work Into a Game WIRED. July 15, 2011.
  3. ^ Jeffries, Adrianne. TaskRabbit takes on another $13 million in funding The Verge. July 23, 2012.
  4. ^ http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/23/4352116/taskrabbit-temp-agency-gig-economy
  5. ^ a b Kirsner, Scott. Small start-up takes an idea and runs with it. The Boston Globe. July 5, 2009.
  6. ^ Eldon, Eric. FbFund: 18 companies and 2 nonprofits win, head to Palo Alto. VentureBeat. May 28, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Kirsner, Scott. TaskRabbit's Leah Busque: The exit interview. The Boston Globe. May 26, 2010.
  8. ^ Lopez, Lolita. Creative Ways to Make Money in Sour Economy. NBC. February 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Moore, Galen. Web startup RunMyErrand to move execs west. Mass High Tech. March 11, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Hoshaw, Lindsey. Need someone to run your errands? There’s an app for that Forbes. July 28, 2011.
  11. ^ RunMyErrand becomes TaskRabbit. L.A.B. Unleashed. April 8, 2010.
  12. ^ Parr, Ben. TaskRabbit for iPhone Lets You Outsource Your Chores Mashable. July 28, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d Tsotsis, Alexia. TaskRabbit Gets $5M From Shasta Ventures TechCrunch.
  14. ^ Shontell, Alyson. Taskrabbit Leah Busque Interview BusinessInsider. October 27, 2011.
  15. ^ O’Dell, Jolie. How one woman technologist single-handedly created thousands of jobs VentureBeat. November 2, 2011.
  16. ^ Tsotsis, Alexia. TaskRabbit Releases Its Amazing iPhone App. TechCrunch. July 28, 2011.
  17. ^ a b Brustein, Joshua. Outsourcing Chores Made Easy New York Times. August 21, 2011.
  18. ^ Hornshaw, Phil. Fresh iPhone Apps for Sept. 19 Appolicious. September 19, 2011.
  19. ^ a b TaskRabbit THRILLIST.
  20. ^ a b Myers, Courtney. TaskRabbit goes mobile! TheNextWeb. July 28, 2011.
  21. ^ Why TaskRabbit hired a CEO SFGate. October 12, 2011.
  22. ^ Taylor, Colleen. TaskRabbit nabs Hotwire co-founder as CEO GigaOM. October 12, 2011.
  23. ^ Tsotsis, Alexia. TaskRabbit Gets A New CEO, Eric Grosse TechCrunch. October 12, 2011.
  24. ^ Roush, Wade. Bay Area Biztech News by the Numbers Xconomy. October 12, 2011.
  25. ^ Crunchies Finalists. TaskRabbit. January 7th, 2012.
  26. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/14/taskrabbit-stacy-brown-philpot-coo/
  27. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/23/taskrabbit-for-business-temp-workers/
  28. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/01/taskrabbit-for-business-service-portal-quietly-disappears/
  29. ^ http://platformed.info/marketplace-rake-own-the-transaction-like-saas/
  30. ^ http://wallstreetinsanity.com/taskrabbit-lays-off-nearly-20-percent-of-its-staff-to-realign-company/
  31. ^ Cuomo, Chris. TaskRabbit: Putting Americans Back to Work, One Odd Job at a Time abcnews. September 29, 2011.
  32. ^ Chuang, Tamara. 10 Best Apps for Ordinary Chores The Street. October 26, 2011.
  33. ^ Tiku, Nitasha. Brother, Can You Spare Some Time? Zaarly, Taskrabbit, and the Rise of the Convenience Economy. BetaBeat. November 30, 2011.
  34. ^ a b Decanio, Lisa. Too Busy to Donate This Season? Outsource Your Good Deeds with TaskRabbit. BostInno. November 29, 2011.
  35. ^ Kolodny, Lora. Collaborative Consumption Leader And Unlikely VC Rachel Bostman Will Convince Us All To Share Fast Company. September 20, 2011.
  36. ^ Donnelly, Tim. How Far Can You Push Customers’ Trust Inc. November 3, 2011.
  37. ^ Gerzema, John. Why You Should Hire E-Lancers Inc. October 1, 2011.
  38. ^ http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/23/4352116/taskrabbit-temp-agency-gig-economy
  39. ^ http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/23/4352116/taskrabbit-temp-agency-gig-economy
  40. ^ "Unveiling The New TaskRabbit". TaskRabbit Blog. 17 June 2014. 
  41. ^ Somerville, Heather (17 June 2014). "TaskRabbit reboots with new business model". SiliconBeat. 
  42. ^ Newton, Casey (17 June 2014). "TaskRabbit is blowing up its business model and becoming the Uber for everything". The Verge. 
  43. ^ Perez, Sarah (17 June 2014). "Following A Drop In Completed Jobs, Errands Marketplace TaskRabbit Shakes Up Its Business Model". TechCrunch. 

External links[edit]