TaskRabbit, the on-demand platform for hiring people to do everything from build furniture to stand in line for you at the Apple Store, has sold itself to IKEA, Recode first reported. IKEA has since confirmed the acquisition, saying the plan is for the furniture retailer to acquire 100 percent of the shares in TaskRabbit but that TaskRabbit will continue to operate independently.
That means TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot (pictured above) and her staff will remain on board and continue to fulfill their partnerships with other retailers. Back in April, word on the street was that TaskRabbit was looking to sell itself to a strategic buyer. It looks like that buyer ended up being IKEA.
“With IKEA Group ownership, TaskRabbit could realize even greater opportunities; increasing earning potential of Taskers and connecting consumers to a wide range of affordable services,” Philpot said in a press release.
Financial terms of the deal are unknown, but TaskRabbit has previously raised $38 million from investors like Founders Fund, First Round, Floodgate and others.
This acquisition makes a lot of sense, given that IKEA furniture, in my experience, is hard to put together and can require help from an able-bodied person via TaskRabbit. Last December, IKEA partnered with TaskRabbit to have the on-demand handyperson startup become its official furniture assembler in London.
“In a fast changing retail environment, we continuously strive to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers’ lives a little bit easier,” IKEA CEO Jesper Brodin said in a press release. “Entering the on-demand, sharing economy enables us to support that. We will be able to learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise, while also providing IKEA customers additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions to meet the needs of today’s customer.”
The acquisition comes at a time when GrubHub, a fellow gig economy employer, is in court over its practices of employing its delivery drivers as 1099 contractors instead of W-2 employees. Depending on the outcome of the lawsuit, it could potentially affect how TaskRabbit and other companies in this space do business. Apparently, that was not a deterrent for IKEA.
IKEA and TaskRabbit signed the deal earlier this week on September 25 and is expected to officially close in October.