TaskRabbit Confirms Layoffs As It Realigns To Focus On Mobile And Enterprise

TaskRabbit, the San Francisco startup that runs a marketplace for outsourcing errands and temporary work projects, has laid off a number of staffers as part of a larger restructuring, TechCrunch has learned.

Reached via email, TaskRabbit founder and CEO Leah Busque confirmed that layoffs have taken place, though she declined to provide specific numbers of how many were let go “out of respect for those team members who were affected.” She explained the situation thusly:

“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.”

One person who was laid off said the announcement was made on Monday of last week, and that 13 people — 20 percent of the 65-person headcount that TaskRabbit reported in May — were let go with one month’s severance. In addition, the person said that TaskRabbit’s remaining employees were offered the option to leave on their own accord and receive the same one month severance package.

However, a TaskRabbit representative said that those details are “not accurate,” but declined to be more specific or disclose the company’s current headcount.

According to the former employee, the move wasn’t entirely surprising, since Busque said at the beginning of this quarter that there would have to be changes unless growth increased significantly. 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.

TaskRabbit, which was founded in 2008, has taken on $37.7 million in venture capital.

The company started as a purely consumer-focused product to let regular people outsource their odd jobs and tasks to others, but it has indeed been increasing its focus on the enterprise space in recent months. Earlier this year TaskRabbit debuted its “TaskRabbit for Business” portal to help businesses hire short-term workers for events such as South By Southwest, and in May it expanded that offering with services to help cover other types of temp employment.

TaskRabbit is one of several venture-backed startups in its space that has shifted gears in one way or another of late. Zaarly, which launched in 2011 as a “reverse Craigslist” for outsourcing odd jobs to neighbors, has since ditched that business entirely to focus on virtual local storefronts; Exec, which launched last year as a service for hiring people online to run errands at a flat hourly rate, has quietly upped the fees for its flagship business and directed a large part of its focus onto house cleaning services.