At midnight on Tuesday, TaskRabbit, the real time peer-to-peer marketplace that lets you outsource your dirty work to nearby “Rabbits,” announced that it raised a eye-popping $17.8 million series B round led by LightSpeed Ventures, the Sand Hill Road firm that also backed DoubleClick.
How thoughtful of TaskRabbit! Now Zaarly doesn’t have to be the only player in the do-it-for-me market with funding in the tens of millions. (In October, Zaarly announced a $14 million round led by Kleiner Perkins.) Betabeat recently profiled both firms in a feature about the rise of the convenience economy.
TaskRabbit’s existing investors like Collaborative Fund and First Round Capital, also participated in the round, along with one very notable newcomer: investment bank Allen & Co., the same firm Zynga used to help underwrite its public offering. Cue the TaskRabbit IPO speculation in 3, 2, 1 . . .
The company, which launched in 2008 but didn’t close its series A round (for $5 million) until this May is certainly growing quickly. Last month, founder Leah Busque told Betabeat that the site was getting $4 million in requested activity a month, adding, “All our key metrics have tripled since the first quarter of this year so we’ve got a ton of momentum right now and we’ll continue to be aggressive about rolling out to new markets.”
As Betabeat noted in the feature, TaskRabbit’s head start in the market, and its emphasis on services over goods, has helped the startup establish a culty, feel-good culture, in the same vein as other Collaborative Fund companies like SkillShare and KickStarter. Although it remains to be seen whether TaskRabbit and Zaarly are a viable alternative to pervasive underemployment, both companies tout that in their pitch.
In a company blog post, Ms. Busque and her CEO Eric Grosse discussed how they plan to spend that $17.8 million:
Our new investment will help us respond to this overwhelming demand and allow us to bring the service to those who have been clamoring for it as a solution to their employment and economic situation and their hectic, crazy lives. So, where are we headed? Seattle, Portland, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, DC, Denver, Philly (just to name a few)… get ready for some easy living!
To ensure the most positive user experience in all our markets, we will also be focusing on making our product and marketplace even more incredible that it is today – that includes adding some cool new features and capabilities. For example, we will adding features that allow our users to more effectively manage their lives through a seamless Task posting process. We will also be building and enriching features that support the mobile experience across multiple platforms. And, as always, we will continue to refine our best-in-class safety features to ensure our community’s security.
To support our aggressive roll-out and growing community, we will be accelerating our recruitment and hiring. Yeah, that’s right! All you engineers and designers out there, we are looking at you! If you’re looking to work on a product that is revolutionizing the way people collaborate with others in their community, reach out to us. As we’ve said before, we are bringing the neighborhood back. Now, we want to bring more talented folks on board to help us realize this vision. If you are interested, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve reached out to Ms. Busqe to see what these developments mean for TaskRabbit’s New York City outpost, and we’ll update you as soon as we hear back.