Ikea buys handyman-for-hire service TaskRabbit

Ikea buys handyman-for-hire service TaskRabbit”

TaskRabbit is the gig-economy app for the truly lazy-so lazy, the startup realized, its users would pay a handyman to assemble their Ikea furniture, even though the directions tend to fit on a sheet of paper and the Swedish retailer's products even come packed with a wrench.

TaskRabbit's chief executive, Stacy Brown-Philpot, said the acquisition could help its contractors - known as Taskers - make more money from each job and further expand the company's footprint. 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. 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.

TaskRabbit had already struck a pilot partnership with Ikea around furniture assembly in the United Kingdom and also had marketed its workers' ability to put together Ikea items in the U.S. and elsewhere. "We will be able to learn from TaskRabbit's digital expertise, while also providing Ikea customers additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions to meet the needs of today's customer", Jesper Brodin, president and CEO of Ikea Group, said in a statement. The leadership structure will also remain, with Brown-Philpot continuing her role as CEO.

TaskRabbit has received investments from a number of prominent venture capital firms, including Shasta Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Founders Fund. The company has struggled in recent years to become profitable. Other countries will follow, the company said.

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