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Ikea buys on-demand services site TaskRabbit

Ikea buys on-demand services site TaskRabbit

IKEA just bought TaskRabbit, which connects people who need a job done with people who will do it. TaskRabbit is the best-known matchmaker in the so-called gig economy. Ikea brings TaskRabbit's teams of freelance "taskers" without the fixed costs of full time hires, while TaskRabbit benefits from Ikea's large, and worldwide, scale. TaskRabbit has 60 employees and a 60,000-person network of independent contractors on its platform, and will continue to be able to work on other partnerships (in the United Kingdom, it already had a partnership with IKEA for furniture assembly; it has a similar partnership with Amazon).

By partnering with and now acquiring TaskRabbit, Ikea effectively gains access to a large number of independent furniture assemblers along with a technology platform that can help its customers more easily find nearby assemblers and schedule an appointment with them when it's most convenient.

The acquisition price wasn't released nor were details about how Ikea would integrate TaskRabbit's services into its company. Sources added that TaskRabbit will become an independent subsidiary within Ikea and that CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot and its staff would remain. Last November, Ikea started a pilot with TaskRabbit in its London stores, which connected customers with "Taskers" to put together their purchases. "Entering the on-demand, sharing economy enables us to support that", said Ikea Group president Jesper Brodin.

Woman assembling IKEA furniture
GETTY THESE DAYS ARE GONE No more assembling flatpack furniture

Anyone who has bought furniture from Ikea knows the frustration that is arriving home with your attractive closet or dresser only to face the realization that you have to put the whole thing together yourself. The furniture seller said Thursday that it is buying online on-demand services platform TaskRabbit, which lets users hire people to help them move, clean up the house or assemble furniture. Depending on the outcome of the lawsuit Lawson v. Grubhub, now underway in San Francisco, TaskRabbit and Ikea may soon have to shell out big money to provide their Malm-assemblers with health insurance and unemployment.

For now, TaskRabbit services-where each worker sets their own rates but the company takes 20 percent-are available in 40 American cities and in London.

In March 2014, TaskRabbit founder and then-CEO Leah Busque told Ars that she wanted the company to "work on a global scale".

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