Ikea Buys ‘Gig Economy’ Pioneer TaskRabbitBy and
Startup explored sale after losing lead to more-focused rivals
‘Taskers’ to keep piecing together furniture in U.S. and U.K.
TaskRabbit will remain an independent entity within Ikea and its chief executive officer, Stacy Brown-Philpot, will continue to run the business. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
The San Francisco-based startup said in April it was exploring a sale after receiving interest from a potential unnamed buyer. Founded in 2008, TaskRabbit pioneered the model of connecting part-time workers with customers willing to pay to get jobs done through the internet and later on smartphone apps. Assembling Ikea sofas and other furniture, rides to the airport, trips to the grocery store, house-cleaning and home repairs were all popular requests on its messaging boards in the early days.
But in the years that followed, it surrendered lucrative parts of its business and never focused on particular segments, preferring to remain an open-ended marketplace for any kind of odd jobs. Companies like Uber Technologies Inc., Instacart Inc., Postmates Inc., Thumbtack Inc. and Handy Technologies Inc. entered the market with more focus and several of these rivals eclipsed TaskRabbit in valuation and popularity.
As a unit of Ikea, TaskRabbit workers -- independent contractors called Taskers -- will continue to work in the U.S. and the U.K. and will keep piecing together Dombas wardrobes, Billy bookcases and Klippan sofas for shoppers.
"With Ikea Group ownership, TaskRabbit could realize even greater opportunities; increasing earning potential of Taskers and connecting consumers to a wide range of affordable services," Brown-Philpot said in a statement.
Brown-Philpot, a former Google executive, took over as CEO from founder Leah Busque in 2016. TaskRabbit had raised more than $30 million in venture funding from firms such as Shasta Ventures and Founders Fund. The company has struggled in recent years to become profitable. Brown-Philpot earlier said the company would be profitable by the end of 2016, then backed away from that forecast.