Someone to get you an ice coffee on a hot day at the office. An introductory pasta making class. A person to help you grandmother move a heavy desk. There is a boom in an interesting class of startups that have yet to settle on a catchy moniker. Skillshare, Skillslate, TaskRabbit and Zaarly are among the many startups that fall into this budding genre.
Fred Wilson talks often about these opportunities, blogging last week about WorkMarket, a labor marketplace Union Square Ventures is invested in. In an economy where high unemployment continues to be a persistent problem, second and third jobs are becoming a neccessity for many Americans.
Brian Rothenberg of SkillSlate points out that TaskRabbit has used the term “service network“, a name that recalls Union Square Ventures thesis, to back highly engaged networks of users. “You should talk to @labusque, given that it’s her term, but basically a trusted network of neighbors to help with local services.”
Betabeat chatted a few weeks back with Jeff Clavier. “These peer-2-peer marketplaces are a very interesting niche. With the social infrastructure that was put into place over the past few years, these companies can scale very quickly.”
For Danny Sauter, one of @Zaarly’s New York staffers, the dream is much broader than just traditional commerce. “Many are calling it Collaborative Consumption. We’ve got a bigger vision than just tasks, but community is key.”
As Xconomy points out, a number of minds in startup hubs around the nation have begun to generate this class of startup. Zaarly hails from Austin, Boston’s has LaborTopia and RunMyErrand, New York’s has TaskRabbit and SkillSlate.
Kickstarter, while not a labor market per se, seems fall into a closely related category. A band that raises $4000 for it’s next EP can settle in and get to work.
Brian Chesky, CEO of AirBnB, is set to headline GigaOm’s RoadMap conference on Nov. 10th to discuss the “potential of the new people to people economy.” Can a proper catchphrase be found for this trend before its too late?
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