the gig economy

Lots of People Applied to be TaskRabbits During the Government Shutdown

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

If you hired a TaskRabbit in D.C. in the last two weeks and got someone wearing a skirt suit and a long-suffering facial expression, we might’ve found the answer.

Fast Company points to a rather boastful TaskRabbit tweet from yesterday evening, in which the odd-jobs platform disclosed an unusually large number of signups during the first days of the shutdown. Don’t tell the dysfunction fetishists, or we’ll never hear the end of it. Read More

the gig economy

Peak Geek: GE Is Hiring TaskRabbits to Deliver Things In Star Trek Costumes


Sometimes we can’t help but ask ourselves whether the “gig economy” is a giant social science experiment in how much aspiring actors can take from their part-time jobs before they crack. High-maintenance coffee orders? Being a “kickass laundry ninja“? What about wearing a Star Trek costume while running errands for TaskRabbit?

That last one is real, by the way, and it’s for a GE promotion that starts tomorrow. Those who post a shopping and delivery errand on TaskRabbit for less than $35 between October 9 and 13 in either NYC or San Francisco may very well get it for free. In which case it would be accomplished by someone wearing a Star Trek costume. Read More

App Ecomony

Venmo Touch From Braintree Lets You Pay Across Multiple Apps Without Entering Your Credit Card

Braintree owns Venmo.

Last August, Silicon Alley darling Venmo, a mobile app that lets you split bills and pay friends, was acquired by Braintree, a PayPal competitor, for $26.2 million. At the time, Braintree emphasized the shift towards mobile commerce. And it looks like having a consumer-facing brand like Venmo is helping in that department.

Today, they announced the launch of Venmo Touch, which should help lower the barrier to buying things on mobile by avoiding the hassle of having to enter your credit card information with every new app . . . as long as it’s part of the Braintree family. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Braintree Gets a $35 M. Boost, TED Gets Trippy, and Real Estate Gets Gamified

Jon Carin rocks (Photo:

Brain Boost This morning, Braintree, a Chicago-based online payments company announced, a $35 million series B round of funding. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). By investing in Braintree, new investors join Accel Partners and others and the company’s total funding is now set at $70 million.

Braintree acquired the beloved bill splitting app, Venmo, back in August and has kept it independent so far. Braintree allows businesses to accept payments from costumers, but Venmo allows consumers to make payments to anyone. It’s a natural fit for both parties.

Braintree’s client list includes fast-growing startups like Uber,, Airbnb, who use it, “through periods of rapid growth without disruption to their ability to accept payments,” the company said in an email to Betabeat. They also name-checked competitors like Stripe and PayPal, noting that one “big difference is that merchants receive their funds typically in two days with Braintree, vs. seven days with Stripe.” Read More

Do It For Me

TaskRabbit Launches Public API So You Can Outsource Tasks From Other Platforms

A TaskRabbit person.

TaskRabbit, the happy-go-lucky, hakuna-mata-chanting startup leading the charge for the new do-it-for-me economy, just released a public API to make outsourcing your dirty work even easier. (For the uninitiated, TaskRabbit is part of a growing number of startups that let harried urbanites posts tasks they don’t have time for. Nearby “Rabbits” then bid on completing them.)

The API opens up that peer-to-peer outsourcing function beyond just the TaskRabbit website or mobile app. “Third-party applications around the world now have the ability to integrate with TaskRabbit’s API, allowing their users to seamlessly outsource their to-do workflow via TaskRabbit,” the company wrote on its blog.

As part of the rollout, TaskRabbit also announced three partnerships, including one with YouEye, an online user testing platform, one with Producteev, a task management app, and one with Astrid, the personal organization and group collaboration app. 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

Meet Shpoonkle, The Online Marketplace for Unemployed Lawyers

Time to weigh your options

Besides having the most amazingly made-up name we have seen in a while, Shpoonkle is an interesting addition to the new crop of startups focused on creating a peer to peer online marketplace. Betabeat’s Nitasha Tiku just did a big report on the convenience economy fueled by companies like TaskRabbit and Zaarly. Schpoonkle is also looking to match supply and demand, but with a focus on the growing number of unemployed law school graduates. Read More

You Must Remember This

Last Week in Betabeat: Return of the Silicon Valley Diaspora


Too busy to check your daily Betabeat? Here are the highlights from last week, as selected by the editors.

REQUIRED READING: Return of the Diaspora: After a Taste of the Valley, New York Techies are Coming Home
All work and no play makes Jack a dull startup.

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

REQUIRED VIEWING: The Pitch, Episode Eight: Dibsie – Browsing for a Big Idea
We sifted through hundreds of eager startups to find some of New York’s top prospects to pitch Lerer Ventures. Watch Ben Lerer and Jordan Cooper talk about them after they’ve left the room.

-MTA to Says ‘Bring It On’ to Investigation Over Sweetheart Deal for Apple in Grand Central
-The Daily Muse, Riding Big Growth, Preps For Y Combinator
-Hip Hop Don’t Stop: Rap Genius Aims To Explain…Everything
-General Assembly Demo Night For General Assembly Companies, Including General Assembly!

-The Great Coffee Shop Boycott
-Rumors & Acquisitions: Fear of Facebook
-Betabeat’s Guide to the New York Tech Holiday Party Circuit

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