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Type of site
TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that allows users to outsource small jobs and tasks to others in their neighborhood. Users name the task they need done and the price they are willing to pay, and a network of pre-approved contractors bid to complete the job. It was founded by Leah Busque in 2008 and has received $37.5 million in funding. Busque founded TaskRabbit when she had no time to buy dog food, basing it on the idea of “neighbors helping neighbors.”
The precursor of TaskRabbit was RunMyErrand, which was launched in 2008 in Boston with the first 100 "runners." In 2009, Tim Ferriss became an advisor to the firm after meeting Busque at Facebook’s startup incubator, fbFund. The firm accumulated $1.8 million in seed funding from venture capital firms,  and hired the company’s first full-time employee, Brian Leonard, a software engineer with whom she had worked at IBM.
In April 2010, Busque changed the name of the company from RunMyErrand to TaskRabbit. By June 2010, Busque and team moved across the country 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. At that time the firm had 13 employees and 2,000 participating "TaskRabbits". 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.
In July 2011, TaskRabbit launched an app, which allows users to post a task with an iPhone. 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.
In March 2013, a new tool for their “TaskRabbit Business" was introduced which allows businesses to hire temporary workers from the TaskRabbit users, with a 26 percent commission.
In July 2013, TaskRabbit confirmed a layoff of 13 people, 20 percent of the 65 employees.
In March 2014, TaskRabbit shut down its Business Services portal.
TaskRabbit has been described as eBay for real-world labor. Users post tasks on the site and declare the maximum amount they would pay for it. Pre-certified, background-checked TaskRabbits, the people who complete the jobs, then bid on completing the task. The user then selects the TaskRabbit who is the best match for the task.
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. 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. 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.
The education level of contractors vary. Out of the all the contractors, 70 percent hold bachelor’s degree, 20 percent hold master’s degree, and 5 percent hold a PhD.
Some people have turned their work for TaskRabbit into a full time job.
On June 17, 2014, reportedly as a result of declines in bids and completed and accepted tasks, TaskRabbit announced and began rolling out a complete reboot from its original task posting and bidding model to a direct hire only model.
Along with the reversal in marketplace direction (from task-doers looking for posts to bid on to task-posters directly assigning random task-doers tasks without their consent or approval), various other changes came along with the July 2014 reboot or pivot, namely:
- Taskers were assigned (company lingo: "invited") to Tasks instead of choosing those in their fields of expertise.
- Taskers were asked to wear a uniform (TaskRabbit shirt).
- Taskers must use the Tasker mobile app for scheduling, chatting, and booking tasks.
- Taskers must use a tasker calendar for availability and scheduling.
- Taskers must respond to all assignments within 30 minutes, even if it is not in the tasker's chosen area.
Formerly independent contractor freelance TaskRabbits may effectively become de facto 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, without a full analysis of the other attendant changes.
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