Etece, a Spanish TaskRabbit style startup offering an online platform for people who need a job doing but don’t have the time to do it themselves, has just closed a €450,000 Series A funding round, with investment from Mola Capital, Faraday Ventures Partners and Startcaps Ventures.
The company, which was founded in Madrid six months ago, had previously raised €500,000 from three European entrepreneurs: Jesús Encinar (idealista.com), Carlos Muñoz (Vueling) and François Derbaix (Toprural) – bringing its total funding to date to just under €1 million.
Etece said it plans to use the new funding to expand its coverage area, pushing out from the three Spanish cities it currently serves — namely Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia — to add four more “in the coming weeks”, namely: Seville, Malaga, Bilbao and Zaragoza.
It has recruited 400 self-employed “problem solvers” to support its task-solving platform so far — with typical tasks including dog walking, cleaning, cooking and IKEA furniture pick ups. It’s clearly going to need to ramp that number up as it scales up to more cities but that process will likely be helped by tough times in the Spanish economy and especially high unemployment. It says it’s aiming to have 1,000 “problem solvers” supporting the business, by the end of the year.
Etece’s platform competes with traditional high street professional services providers by having its problem solvers compete with each other to win the business. It reckons this leads to an average 35% discount for the person wanting the task done. Its problem solvers take 81% of that money — with its cut being just shy of a fifth (19%).
“We control all the transaction. We charge the customer on its credit card, and pay the solutionner by wire transfer. Also, we guarantee that if client is insolvent, the solutionner still gets paid, and that if the client is not happy he/she will not pay (money back guarantee),” CEO Ramon Blanco tells TechCrunch.
There’s no shortage of TaskRabbit style startups springing up, but a local focus often makes sense for this sort of business which typically requires the task doer to attend the home of the task requirer. Another example would be Brazil’s GetNinjas, or Red Beacon and MyTime in the U.S.
Blanco says Etece’s focus is fully on Spain for now but does reckon there is potential to expand elsewhere in Europe if it gets enough traction. ”If we are able to successfully roll out nationally, our next target will be cities over 4 million people in Europe (London and Paris firsts of the list). But as we say in Spain, there is a lot of meat to be cut yet,” he says.