Michelle HammondFollow on twitter www.startupsmart.com.au
Airtasker launches in Melbourne after closing $1.5 million funding round
Sydney-based start-up Airtasker has commenced operations in Melbourne and now intends to embark on a nationwide expansion, after securing $1.5 million in funding.
Airtasker, founded by Jonathan Lui and Tim Fung, is an online community marketplace that allows users to outsource everyday tasks to people in their local community.
The business recently secured $1.5 million in funding from local investment house Bridge Lane Capital and other investors, although Airtasker isn’t prepared to disclose the other investors.
“Our aim was to put together a team of investors who believed in our vision and who could not only provide financial support, but could also help us build the business from the ground up,” Fung told StartupSmart.
“We reached our target funding and then ended up accepting a bit more investment than we had initially planned.”
“We saw that a number of the people that we met could provide tons of experience and advice to the business.”
Prior to this, Airtasker raised $140,000 from internet investors and entrepreneurs, which was sufficient to build the website and kickstart the online community marketplace in February.
“The two most important things for us are to build a great web/app product and to educate as many people as we can about how they can benefit from using Airtasker,” Fung said.
The new funds will be used to hire engineers to enhance the site’s functionality, add premium user profiles, improve messaging systems and install new safety mechanisms.
In addition, Airtasker aims to use the funds to improve its mobile capabilities with GPS integration and an Android app.
Airtasker raised the funds within months of its launch in Sydney, and recently commenced operations in Melbourne, with further nationwide expansion set to follow.
Airtasker’s business model is to charge a small fee ($2 plus 5% of task value) to the “runner” when a task is completed, but it’s free to post a task, with no added fees for getting a task done.
Last month, as part of a publicity stunt, Airtasker appeared in the news when one of its runners camped outside the Apple store for the first iPad from Apple’s flagship Sydney store.
“Our number one goal at the moment is to let as many people as possible know about Airtasker,” Fung said.
“One of the best things about Airtasker is that your task doesn’t have to fall into one of the traditional categories like plumbing, electrician, window cleaner, etc.”
“You can post up anything that you need done, whether it’s writing a love poem, cleaning out your garage or helping you assemble some flat-pack furniture.”
“I think that the biggest risk lies within the challenge of showing people how they can use Airtasker as part of their everyday lives to find great local service providers.”
“We need to focus on spreading the word to make sure that we’re top of mind when someone has their ‘Airtasker moment’ and needs their dog walked, their car washed or any other chore done.”