CBI: If you would, draw us a sketch of TaskRabbit on a cocktail napkin—basic idea, who your customers are, partnerships, the countries you’re in, revenues, etc.
LB: The company connects you to people in your neighborhood who can help out with small jobs and tasks. Our customers are busy professionals—60% of them are women—who are definitely prioritizing things other than running errands, in order to make time for things such as going to a health club.
From one neighborhood in Boston, we scaled to 44 markets across the U.S., and have opened in London, our first international market.
We raised $50 million in venture funding, and brought the company to profitability.
CBI: We think that’s rather impressive, at least in the context of the health and fitness industry.
LB: Granted, it is a lot of capital. I’m actually quite proud of the amount we raised, but more because, while it’s on the smaller side with respect to the technology space, we were able to do so much with it. It allowed us to scale the company as we did.
CBI: Since you, yourself, are one of those professional women, what tasks do you let others do?
LB: I like to outsource things that give me leverage—tasks that give me more time at home with my kids, or an extra hour for email. For example, I recently outsourced the decorating of my home for Halloween, and also had a “tasker” conduct research on a new office I want to open for my business.
CBI: What can club operators learn from this? Could they conceivably use this sort of system to run their businesses more efficiently? Can companies employ taskers, as well?
LB: Indeed they can. This is all about the Law of Comparative Advantages. You outsource things when it’s appropriate, so you can focus on the priorities that only you can do the best. Successful companies, in fact, do this type of outsourcing all of the time.
CBI: What do your taskers do
that might be different from,
say, the service providers listed on Angie’s List or Home Advisor? Are your main competitors Google or Amazon?
LB: We actually have commercial partnerships with all of those companies, because we offer what’s essentially the “last mile” of service. If you order a TV from Amazon, for instance, chances are that you’ll need to have it installed after delivery. We can offer that sort of additional service to customers across many different industries.
We also kicked off an 18-month commercial partnership with IKEA, which led to an exit for us.
CBI: That’s right—in late September, you sold TaskRabbit to IKEA. But we understand that TaskRabbit will continue to operate independently. Will you still be involved? What are you doing now?
LB: With the acquisition, TaskRabbit will operate independently, but under a new board of directors composed of IKEA people. The entire TaskRabbit board was dissolved as part of the sale process.
I’m now excited to be a general partner with FUEL Capital, a San Francisco– based venture capital firm that focuses, primarily, on early-stage companies
in the retail, hardware, consumer technology, and education marketplaces, as well as other industries.
We get in when an idea or product is just taking shape. In many cases, we’re really investing in the team and founders, because we believe in them and their vision.