Ikea to buy TaskRabbit

The heads of Task Rabbit and Ikea Group Stacy Brown Philpot and Jesper Brodin    

The firm is buying USA start-up firm Taskrabbit, which allows users to hire people to help them assemble furniture as well as a host of other chores like house cleaning or lawn mowing.

"In a fast-changing retail environment, we continuously strive to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers' lives a little bit easier", IKEA CEO Jesper Brodin said in a statement. TaskRabbit now operates in the United States and London (UK) and will continue to function as an independent company.

The two companies first teamed up for a pilot run in London in November 2016, but the acquisition will allow Ikea to extend TaskRabbit services to all of its stores in the U.S. and London, and eventually other countries as well.

TaskRabbit will also help Ikea expand in the digital furniture market, where it is now in tough competition with Amazon.

TaskRabbit connects consumers with skilled "Taskers" for help with everything from furniture assembly, to moving and packing, handyman and home improvement jobs.

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The Taskrabbit acquisition takes Ikea into the world of the "gig economy", with workers for the service all independent contractors rather than employees.

IKEA Group owns and operates 357 IKEA stores in 29 countries and operates a growing ecommerce business with over two billion visits to IKEA.com every year.

Financial terms of the deal are unknown, but TaskRabbit has previously raised $38 million from investors like Founders Fund, First Round, Floodgate and others.

TaskRabbit will retain its San Francisco headquarters and operate as a standalone company that will continue to partner with other retailers and commercial partners, said TaskRabbit spokesman Adi Raval. TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot and her 60-person staff will remain with the company.

Beginning today, online shoppers who need help with handyman tasks, furniture assembly and product installation can view and compare Taskers' ratings, reviews and prices before directly hiring them.

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