Ikea entering gig economy with acquisition of TaskRabbit

SAN FRANCISCO • Ikea announced a deal on Thursday to acquire TaskRabbit, a start-up offering on-demand help, as the world's largest furniture retailer grabbed a seat in the online sharing economy.

TaskRabbit provides an online platform where people can hire freelance labour for anything from fixing leaky plumbing or assembling furniture to waiting in queues outside Apple stores to buy iPhones on launch days.

Since it was founded nine years ago, TaskRabbit has spread to 40 US cities and London, the firm said.

"Through our unique on-demand platform, TaskRabbit is making life better for both consumers and Taskers," start-up chief executive Stacy Brown-Philpot said.

The company expected the merger with Ikea Group to result in a broader array of services being offered and the potential for "taskers" to make more money.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

TaskRabbit will continue to operate as an independent company, according to Ikea.

Late last year, Ikea successfully tested making TaskRabbit talent available to help Ikea customers assemble newly bought furniture.

"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 chief executive Jesper Brodin said in the joint release. "Entering the on-demand, sharing economy enables us to support that."

Ikea planned to make TaskRabbit services available to customers after the acquisition is completed.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'Ikea entering gig economy with acquisition of TaskRabbit'. Print Edition | Subscribe