TaskRabbit Lays Off Nearly 20 Percent Of Its Staff To Realign Company
TaskRabbit, the startup that lets you send others to do your errands for you, has recently announced a number of layoffs as it aims to reposition and restructure the company.
TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque confirmed the layoffs to TechCrunch, saying: “We realigned the company to support our key business opportunities, namely mobile, geographic expansion, business services and our marketplace operations. We’re getting leaner in certain areas and expanding in others. For example, this week we brought on Ian Arthurs as VP of Marketplace Operations and are actively searching for a VP of Product.
I want to emphasize that TaskRabbit’s business is healthy and our growth remains strong. Since May of 2011, we have 11x’ed our monthly revenue and task posting volume and several of our markets are consistently experiencing thirty percent month-over-month growth.”
TaskRabbit currently has a consumer model, where anyone can request to have nearly any type of task done from a background-checked individual. However, they may be shifting their business model to accomodoate businesses. With the unveiling of the business portal earlier this year, which allowed business to outsource work to temporary staffers, they may be seeing more value in that avenue. TaskRabbit claimed that their business-geared portal was “more reliable than online classifieds and less costly than traditional temp agencies.”
Like TaskRabbit, startup Zaarly, whose original model was much like TaskRabbit’s and considered itself as a “reverse Craigslist” for outsourcing jobs, has also ditched the model. Zaarly now focuses on connecting customers to local storefronts, giving merchants in their community a chance to show off their goods and services.
One former employee offered insight into what’s happening, saying that in the beginning of the quarter, employees were made aware that if the company did not see significant regrowth, some changes would be made. According to TechCrunch, “Apparently TaskRabbit sent an email to all the non-laid off employees on Sunday night telling them that there would be a company strategy meeting from 1pm to 7pm, and that they shouldn’t come into the office before then. So when everyone else showed up on Monday morning, they were alone in the office to receive the bad news.”
David Evans, a TechCrunch user, commented on TaskRabbit’s funding and realigning business model, saying,
I watched Leah code up the original RunMyErrand at my local coffee shop. Great business idea and as a personal user, a solid service with a lot of upside. $40M was probably a bit much to raise so early on. People got excited (Tim Ferris yay!), they made a few million, over-grew as many startups do, and then downsized. I always question who was sitting around the table when someone said, “Turn on the afterburners”. Usually that call to arms happens too early. Temp employment industry is brutal, I like the consumer-facing model better. Interesting to see what happens now that the space has effectively been commoditized.”
As of now, there is no word on whether TaskRabbit will completely ditch its old model and reinvent itself entirely.