My report this week:
TaskRabbit was created in 2008 after its founder, Leah Busque, realized she needed to buy dog food but didn’t have time to get it herself. Working by herself at first, and later with a staff of 65 funded by nearly $40 million in venture capital, Busque built a marketplace for getting errands done. "Neighbors helping neighbors — it’s an old school concept upgraded for today," the company says. "We call it service networking, and it’s changing everything." The service has now launched in nine cities, has just under 11,000 contractors available, and has a goal of adding 1,000 more each month.
But beneath the friendly neighborhood exterior lies a darker reality — people often come to TaskRabbit looking for work after being laid off from corporate jobs where they had steady incomes, health benefits, 401(k) matches, and a clear path for career advancement. The education levels of the company’s contractors help tell the story: 70 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, 20 percent have master’s degrees, and 5 percent have a PhD.