Airtasker aims for e­Bay status in outsourcing

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 3.12.26 PMSydney-­based start­up, Airtasker, which wants to be to outsourcing what eBay is to the products space, said the Australian market represents a multi-­billion dollar opportunity, part of which includes retail.

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Launched in 2012 by long time friends, Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui, Airtasker is an online platform that outsources everyday tasks. Like other digital businesses operating in the ‘shared economy’, such as Airbnb and Uber,

Airtasker acts as the platform that facilitates the communication and payment between jobseekers and those looking for individuals to perform menial tasks.

There are currently around 340,000 registered users on Airtasker, with the average job costing $130, and the average rate of pay per hour at $28.

Airtasker connects the individual parties and processes the payment, taking a 15 per cent cut of the each transaction.

Co­founder, Fung, told attendees of NORA’s recent e­-commerce expedition, which toured Airtasker’s head office in Sydney, that there are around $2 million worth of tasks, which are free to post by users, on Airtasker each month.

Jobs are pre­paid, with users encouraged to also share reviews following the completion of tasks.

“This is not necessarily about manual labour,” Fung said.

“It’s about connecting people that have different skills, different availability, and different experiences, together to transact with us.

“Whether it’s home cleaning or a business looking for a photographer or blogger, it’s a two­sided marketplace that gets the task done and allows people to make money on the go. We have hundreds of users now that are making $1000 per week on our platform so we’re not just talking about chump change.

“Each time a transaction happens the marketplace gets stronger and stronger. It’s different to a classified business like Gumtree, where each time you have to reintroduce yourself into the marketplace. Trust builds more trust.”

Most jobs are by returning customers, with workers from three demographics – students, aged 18 to 24 year olds; 25­44 years olds with tertiary education such as graphic design or marketing; and one of its fastest growing workforce markets, the over 60s.

“Originally, we thought it was going to be students, but that hypothesis got blown away in about six weeks. We have a lot of users who are 60 plus. They make up a huge portion of our workers; in fact, two or three out of 10 of our workers would fall into that category.”

Airtasker also sees around 70 per cent of customers using the application, including payment, on mobile.

While there are similar models operating in the US, such as TaskRabbit, Fung said the focus remains on the Australian market.

It is currently examining further expansion within the network, such as creating a subscription-­based model and introducing paid reputation services.

“We are really focused on Australia over the next 12 to 18 months. We think the Australian market is a multi­billion dollar opportunity,” Fung said.

With the domestic market at the forefront, the brand is gearing for next phase of growth. Next month, Airtasker will ramp up its advertising, and will also seep in the retail space.

Airtasker has previously been used by retailers for box handling and delivery. In November, Airtasker will launch service cards in partnership with four major retailers, including a supermarket, electronics brand, and mid­level department store.

As well as service cards, Airtasker is also set to collaborate with another major retailer, which will use its platform for tasks such as delivery and installation.

Most of Airtasker’s marketing spend currently goes towards traditional marketing such as Google ads. But it’s now experimenting with Facebook ads, allocating around 50 per cent of spend to the social network.

In November, Airtasker will launch its first above the line campaign, with outdoor billboards around Sydney. The campaign with also target specific suburbs in Sydney.

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