In the U.S. startups like TaskRabbit, where anyone can run an errand for anyone else, seem like a novelty even today. But in emerging economies, where the mobile phone rules, it’s become the mainstream lifeblood of almost all businesses. “Micro-entrepreneurism” has become entirely powered by mobile. To that end tech startup Mila has hit upon the idea of concentrating on emerging markets, in particular cities like Shanghai and Jakarta.
Mila is a location-based mobile marketplace for tasks and products that lets people find, discover and buy services from people in their neighbourhood. A spin-off from CoreSystems, a Swiss mobile enterprise platform provider (backed by SAP), it also has operations in Zurich and Berlin, but has a global footprint, as you can see.
Now it’s raised $3.22 million (€2.46 million) from a consortium of private Swiss and German technology investors, including Peter Zencke and Adrian Bult. Zencke was a longtime member of the executive board at SAP, and Bult is a former Swisscom Mobile CEO and former COO of banking technology firm Avaloq.
Mila CEO Manuel Grenacher says Mila allows people to “connect with people around you offering services, or you can earn extra cash by offering your own services or time to those in your neighbourhood.” It operates on mobile web and web, and is currently revamping its iOS and Android apps.
Unlike TaskRabbit, Mila is one of the few “collaborative economy” companies to have a foot in both the developed and developing worlds, and the funding will be used to expand in Indonesia and China.
It’s clear that it’s going to be important for mobile startups like Mila to have a footprint in these emerging countries where mobile rules the economy.