IKEA assembles gig economy forces with acquisition of TaskRabbit

29 Sep 201716 Shares

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IKEA instructions for furniture assembling. Image: Tommy Alven/Shutterstock

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No task too big or small for the gig economy as IKEA plans to send out legions of taskers to get assembly jobs right.

Swedish home store IKEA is to acquire TaskRabbit, the start-up that sends legions of gig economy workers to do chores or handyman jobs.

The price of the acquisition was undisclosed but it is understood that TaskRabbit will operate independently after the deal closes in October.

‘As urbanisation and digital transformation continue to challenge retail concepts, we need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way’
– JESPER BRODIN

The start-up operates an online marketplace of around 60,000 freelance workers or ‘taskers’ who undertake jobs like moving and assembling build-it-yourself furniture for people stumped by flatpacks and allen keys.

IKEA enters the on-demand economy

“In a fast-changing retail environment, we continuously strive to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers’ lives a little bit easier. Entering the on-demand, sharing economy enables us to support that,” explained Jesper Brodin, president and CEO of IKEA Group.

“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.”

San Francisco-headquartered TaskRabbit has raised about $40m since it was founded nine years ago and has 60 full-time employees. The company recently expanded to 40 cities around the US as well as London.

According to TaskRabbit, its taskers have spent 350,000 hours running errands, saved more than 16,000 walls from bad DIY TV-mounting jobs and cleaned out more than 2m dust bunnies from under beds.

IKEA said that once the deal is completed, it will be able to provide customers with access to services provided by TaskRabbit taskers. It plans to add other countries beyond the US and the UK.

“With IKEA Group ownership, TaskRabbit could realise even greater opportunities; increasing earning potential of taskers and connecting consumers to a wide range of affordable services,” said Stacy Brown-Philpot, TaskRabbit CEO.

IKEA Group owns and operates 357 IKEA stores in 29 countries under a growing e-commerce business, with more than 2bn visits to IKEA.com every year.

“As urbanisation and digital transformation continue to challenge retail concepts, we need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way. An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation and allows us to move forward with an even greater focus on innovation and development to meet changing customer needs,” added Brodin.

IKEA instructions for furniture assembling. Image: Tommy Alven/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com