It looks like a few big names have picked their horse they want to bet on in the convenience economy. And then saddled that horse up with bags of cash.
Today Zaarly, the marketplace that matches people who have tasks they need to get done with people willing to do them (for a price and within the specified time frame), just announced it picked up $14 million investment round led by Kleiner Perkins. For comparison TaskRabbit, one of Zaarly’s many competitors, raised a more modest series A at $5 million in May.
Zaarly, which counts Michael Arrington, Ashton Kutcher and AngelList’s Naval Ravikant as seed investors, also announced a would-be governor on their board: current HP CEO and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
According to VentureBeat, Zaarly may have been on Ms. Whitman’s plate before she got the recent HP appointment. But CEO and co-founder Bo Fishback, who honed his entrepreneurial chops at the Kauffman Foundation says, “When I call her on a Saturday, she answers every time.”
Although Mr. Fishback also tells VentureBeat, “We’re at the intersection of Craigslist, eBay, and a lot of marketplaces that don’t exist but should,” that hole in the market is filling up fast. SkillSlate has pivoted towards more of a real-time classified and Zipments launched its Android app in New York. Which might have been why Zaarly was recently accused of gaming Craigslist (a la Airbnb and Loosecubes), its other major competitor.
Zaarly plans on rolling out a verification option to prove members are trustworthy while still remaining anonymous as well as reviews of buyers and sellers. We’d advise spending some of those funds on trying to entice errand-runners. Betabeat’s $10 offer to get fix our Dentyne Ice jones was back in June was met with utter silence . . . until the kind folks at Zaarly NYC took pity on us and sent over a 12-pack four weeks later.