Ikea Enters 'Gig Economy' by Acquiring TaskRabbit


You can hire Taskers to help you move, clean out your closet, or even organize your weekly schedule, but by far one of the most popular uses of the app is furniture assembly.

Swedish retail company Ikea said Thursday that it has acquired TaskRabbit.

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. Yelp and Google had also expressed interest in buying the San Francisco-based company after it put itself up for sale in April.

"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", said Jesper Brodin, president and CEO of IKEA Group. The program offers fixed pricing for Ikea customers seeking someone to assemble furniture purchased from Ikea - a famously tricky task.

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"The purchase of TaskRabbit was fueled by Ikea's need to bolster its digital customer service capabilities to better compete with rivals likes Amazon, which has stepped up its home goods and installation offerings", Recode reported. As the Associated Press reports, IKEA was testing the use of TaskRabbit in its London stores late past year, and it's planning to roll out a TaskRabbit add-on at more United Kingdom and U.S. stores soon. In the communities in which we operate, TaskRabbit provides strong economic impact.

The transaction was signed Monday and is expected to close in October.

Stacy Brown-Philpot, chief executive officer of TaskRabbit Inc., speaks during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., May 4, 2016. It will still be able to strike up new partnerships with retailers and others outside of Sweden-based Ikea.

Ikea, which is owned by a foundation, runs 357 stores in 29 countries; 44 of the stores are in the United States.