One of the earliest and most prominent startups of the so-called “sharing economy” or “gig economy” is evaluating the possibility of selling itself. As reported by Recode, freelance work marketplace TaskRabbit acknowledged that it is contemplating a sale after receiving inbound interest from a possible strategic buyer.
TaskRabbit launched in early 2008 as a way to match up with various types of odd jobs in their local area part-time workers who had spare time. In its earliest days, the business operated in a very loose marketplace model — users could list jobs they needed accomplished and the price they were willing to pay for those services, and so-called “TaskRabbits” could choose to accept those jobs or not.
It was a pretty novel concept at the time, but it wasn’t long before a number of other startups cropped up offering similar capabilities. Over time, those gig economy companies started to position themselves around specific types of work, with many attempting to be the place to go for cleaning services or home improvement.
A few more years passed, and, after some initial excitement around the gig economy, follow-on venture capital dried up and many of TaskRabbit’s competitors either shut down or were acquired for pennies on the dollar.
And so here we are. After raising $38 million dollars from investors like Shasta Ventures, Founders Fund, First Round, Floodgate, CollabFund and others, there’s little appetite for other investors to keep putting money in companies like TaskRabbit.
So what now? All indications are that handyman services, light home renovation and furniture assembly are going to end up being a billion-dollar business. So it makes sense that TaskRabbit would explore the possibility of a sale if there’s a buyer — or multiple buyers — interested.
The only question is who those buyers might be, and how much they might be willing to pay for the business.