How I Did It
VIDEO • HOW I DID IT

TaskRabbit: From Start-up to Global Web Market for Odd Jobs
 

Last year TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque raised $17.8 million in Series B financing. Now she's looking to scale up rapidly in the U.S. and abroad.

How I Did It: How Task Rabbit Handles Growing Pains

Last year TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque raised $17.8 million in Series B financing. Now she's looking to scale up rapidly in the U.S. and abroad.

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Video Transcript

00:07 Leah Busque: TaskRabbit is an online marketplace where people can go to outsource small jobs and tasks to other people in their neighborhood. So, if you need groceries delivered, or dry-cleaning picked up, you can post that job online, name the price you're willing to pay and we'll connect you with the hundreds of background-checked runners that we have in your location. When I had the idea for TaskRabbit back in February of 2008, it was a time where Facebook was really popular, Twitter was just up and coming and location-based platforms like Foursquare, Gowalla didn't have much traction yet. But I started to see how social, location and mobile at that time could be leveraged together to create this core infrastructure for service networking. I knew that I could build this idea. I knew that I could build the website. As an engineer, I had sort of the tools and resources to do that, and I thought, "You know what, I am just gonna build it and see if people like it, see if people wanna use it and then we will go from there," and it's just kind of snowballed.

01:07 Busque: My husband Kevin and I kind of looked at our finances. We had this house in Boston and we were kinda like, "Alright, you have about six months to do something with this company, otherwise you need to go back to work and have an income and have a job." Every single day it was like,"Are we gonna make it, are we not gonna make it; am I gonna have to go back to work, what's gonna happen?" But I found two Boston area angel investors, and Jill and Peter out of Boston stepped up. They put in a 150K. The first couple of rounds of funding, the seed round, or A round have been really focused on proving out the model in just a couple of cities. And now that we have understood that really well and have created operations around it and customer service around it and product features around it and continue to deliver that quality and consistency to prove that even though we are growing fast, we know exactly what we are doing.

02:02 Busque: It's been really fun to see the growth that's occurred even in the last 12 months. Twelve months ago we were a team of seven and now we're a team of 47. When you grow that fast, are you growing too quickly? Are you gonna sacrifice things like company culture, processes, adding more, adding less speed and more process into the team when you grow that quickly. Something that I am constantly looking at is just pace and speed in process. And early on even when it was just me engineering the site, I could go as fast as my fingers would type to get new features and product work out.

02:38 Busque: But that wasn't always the best quality code, the most scalable code, the best infrastructure to be building. And so as we've grown the team, we brought in some really smart people, Brian Leonard, who I worked with at IBM actually for five years, was the first employee I brought on to take over engineering and to really kind of do a reset of the site and start fresh again in a more scalable way. We're always looking for ways we can be more efficient and gain more traction and speed. We're ready now to expand out on a global scale. So we are looking at cities not only across the United States but internationally as well. What we're really doing is disrupting a global labor market. And so we are really focused on using this now larger round of funding to continue our vision to drive that.

Last updated: May 3, 2012

NICOLE CARTER is Inc.'s San Francisco bureau chief. She was previously an editor at New York Daily News, and her work has also appeared in Consumer Reports magazine.
@nicoleckinc