XX in Tech

NBCUniversal’s Lady-Focused Ad Network Nabs Every Female Startup Founder You Know For Its New Digital Board

NBCU

On quick glance, the list of people named to the digital advisory board for Women at NBCU–NBCUniversal’s lady-friendly ad network–contains roughly every female startup founder and techie maven known to Startupland. At least it sorta feels that way.

As PaidContent reports, the digital board includes TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque, IfWeRanTheWorld founder and CEO Cindy Gallop, Rent the Runway founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman, Google’s Marissa Mayer, One Kings Lane cofounder Alison Pincus, Twitter’s VP of media Chloe Sladden, New York City’s Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, LearnVest founder and CEO Alexa Von Tobel. Read More

Do It For Me

TaskRabbit Acquires SkillSlate For an Undisclosed Sum [Updated]

Sorry, Chad, we're now using your photo for all TaskRabbit news.

Once upon a time in a real-time peer-to-peer marketplace, an auction-based website for local skills met an auction-based platform for local tasks, fell in love and got acquired! At least that’s how TaskRabbit and SkillSlate might tell it to their grandkids. That is if this outsourcing your dirty work business catches on.

This morning, TaskRabbit, the San Francisco-based company that helps users find nearby “Rabbits” to do unwanted tasks officially announced that it had acquired SkillSlate, a New York-based company that helps users find people with skills they need, such as fire breathing and personal chefery. Combined they hope to form a national “service network.”

Neither startup is currently disclosing the acquisition price. But reached by email earlier this morning, SkillSlate co-founder and CEO Bartek Ringwelski told us: “Let’s just say the last few months have been busy.  I think I may even have hinted about consolidation in the market when we talked a couple months ago :-)” Read More

Do It For Me

TaskRabbit Picks Up a $17.8 M. Series B—and a Vote of Confidence for the Do-It-For-Me Economy

Chad Miller, actor, writer, Rabbit

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. Read More

Do It For Me

Brother, Can You Spare Some Time? Zaarly, TaskRabbit and the Rise of the Convenience Economy

Illustration by Oliver Munday

Chad Miller likes to think of running errands for strangers on TaskRabbit as a quasi-religious experience—or at least as close to spiritual as a gay former Southern Baptist from West Texas is likely to find in New York. Mr. Miller is a 38-year-old Columbia graduate who acts, writes and works full-time managing outreach for the university’s Arts Initiative. He signed up for TaskRabbit as his “tertiary job” in September, shortly after the Boston-based startup launched in New York.

“This is going to be incredibly gay as I’m saying it,” Mr. Miller laughed, “but it’s very hakuna matata, Disney-fied—you put it out there and you get a little back. The karma piece is really nice.”

Along with a bumper crop of like-minded companies, such as Zaarly, Fancy Hands and Agent Anything, that have entered the New York market in the past year or so, TaskRabbit offers an updated play on Craigslist for the iPhone-era: buyers post the dirty work they want to get done and nearby “Rabbits” bid on the jobs. Service requests range from the sophisticated—“Motivate me to write a book :)” read a recent TaskRabbit request from Midtown—to the menial. “$50 for a Massage,” a Zaarly user on the West Side posted in November. “General massage,” the ad elaborated, tersely, in the description. For the most part, however, Rabbits are asked to perform domestic drudgery: assembling Ikea furniture tops the list.

It’s easy to see why democratizing the personal assistant might do well in New York, a city largely unburdened by hang-ups about, say, paying $20 to avoid wasting time in a Laundromat, even when one’s budget barely permits it.

In the past three months, Mr. Miller has made a little over $2,000 on the kind of irksome chores overextended urbanites are eager to slough off on someone else, including driving strangers to JFK, waiting in line for hours to save someone’s seat for a Conan taping and lugging furniture to a fourth-floor walk-up. The money’s nice and all, but to hear Mr. Miller tell it, the appeal doesn’t sound far off from “Love thy neighbor.” Read More