Task management service TaskRabbit is announcing a raise of $5 million in Series A this morning, in addition to its already existing $1.8 million in seed and angel funding. The financing was lead by Shasta Ventures and followed on by First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, FLOODGATE, Collaborative Fund, 500 Startups and The Mesh author Lisa Gansky. In addition to the financing, Shasta Ventures’ Sean Flynn will be joining TaskRabbit’s Board of Directors.
Founded in 2008 and formerly RunMyErrand.com, TaskRabbit is a two way marketplace that helps its community of over 1500 task runners connect with the the thousands of tasks posted on the site monthly. Task senders can sign up to the site for free and post a task which will be bid on by runners, who are vetted through a three step background check. Senders can accept task bids and re-route payment through the site, scoring a runner on their performance once a task is complete. Founder Leah Busque tells me that the average task response time is 10 minutes, down from 30 minutes a year ago.
As a service networking platform hooking up people who need stuff done to people who want to do stuff, the service is in the same space as Craigslist but with a “layer of safety” attached, because of its stringent approval process. The variety of tasks posted range anywhere from “Do laundry” (the most popular task), to “Pick up groceries,” to “Write a Mother’s Day Poem,” to “Wrap my officemate’s desk in cellophane as a joke.” Busque says she is currently seeing an increase in skills based tasks like “Help me redesign my WordPress blog.”
The TaskRabbit platform facilitates the entire transaction between sender and runner, with a posting and bidding system and payment platform focused on providing an optimal user experience to both sides of the task equation. “There’s a lot that goes into building a platform like this,” Busque tells me. “It’s a robust system including everything from messaging to alerting to payments to our reputations system. We’ve cracked the nut and learned how to provide a great user experience for both sides of the marketplace,” she says.
“The TaskRabbit marketplace is revolutionizing the way people get things done- stranded drivers can find a person with jumper cables in just minutes, florists can get the extra delivery help they need on Valentine’s Day to keep their customers happy,” investor Flynn said on the market impetus behind his firm’s vote.
The service also keeps its ecosystem of runners engaged with the addition of gamification elements like points for completing each task. Runners also get points for engaging in community building actions like sending email invites encouraging friends to become runners and even just for bidding on tasks. A TaskRabbit leaderboard, monthly TaskRabbit meetups and text message task notifications also ensure that runners keep their heads in the game.
TaskRabbit currently monetizes by taking a 15% cut of all tasks being performed. Busque plans on using the additional financing to expand beyond the current markets of San Francisco and Boston and to double her team of 13 people, hiring specifically into engineering and sales.