One of the most popular jobs on TaskRabbit, a service that lets you hire workers for quick gigs, is assembling Ikea furniture. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the Swedish retail giant has reportedly acquired the startup for an undisclosed price.
TaskRabbit has only a few dozen full-time employees, but it is a platform for a large number of independent contractors who help customers with all sorts of errands, handymen tasks and, of course, furniture assembly.
According to tech news site Recode, Ikea will treat TaskRabbit, which is reportedly profitable, as an independent subsidiary and keep on its CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot. Recode sees the deal as a strategic acquisition at a time of rapid change in the world of retail and home delivery:
TaskRabbit has received investments from a number of prominent venture capital firms, including Shasta Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Founders Fund.
Currently, customers are able to hire “rabbits” in around 40 U.S. cities.
TaskRabbit is one of the most high profile of the so-called “gig economy” companies, which connect customers with workers on an independent contractor basis. Other such companies include home cleaning service Handy, and the car-hailing services Uber and Lyft.
The “gig” business model is popular with investors because it can grow quickly, and allows companies to try to avoid the costs and legal entanglements of hiring staff. In recent years, however, workers on such services have won several court challenges claiming they are not contractors, but are instead employees.
Ikea did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the acquisition.