CEO and founder of Airtasker, Tim Fung says he envisages his latest business to become a whole lot more than an e-commerce classifieds for miscellaneous services.
The big news from Airtasker last week was that the company had just received $1.5 million in funding from various investors including Bridge Lane Capital. While to some this may seem like the end result of a lot of hard work, CEO and co founder Tim Fung reveals it’s really only just the beginning for the fledgling e-commerce venture, which launched in Melbourne last week.
Airtasker was conceived in joint by Fung and his colleague Jonathan Lui. Their idea was to provide a social platform for people to post miscellaneous jobs to, house errands or handyman-style tasks, so that people with the right skills and availability could earn money by fulfilling the required job.
Normally, Airtasker charges $2 plus five percent of the task’s value to the ‘runner’ once the task is complete. However, at the moment Airtasker is running a promotion that allows runners to try the service for free, if they help spread the word about Airtasker on their social networks – dubbed ‘Pay with a Tweet’ or ‘Pay with Facebook’.
The runner is the person who performs the given task and therefore receives payment from the person who initially posted the job, the ‘sender’. There are no fees for a sender to post a job to Airtasker.
Early criticisms of Airtasker’s model point out the flaw in the amount it charges runners. The jobs that are posted are, for the majority, low-value and therefore won’t net the platform very much cash. It’s therefore a low-value business model, say the critics, and thus a bad investment decision from investors.
Not so, says Fung, who believes there’s a lot more potential to Airtasker than first meets the eye.
“We have come to the conclusion that we’re essentially building a community-based social network,” says Fung. “For the people who want to run the tasks, it’s a new way to earn cash via a social platform, but for those people looking to purchase services and odd-jobs, it’s really no different from any other e-commerce marketplace.”
Fung highlights the Airtasker’s ability to facilitate transactions of all kinds, not just services. However, it’s all about building the quality experience first.
“First we have to build the community. We want to develop a network of trust with reviews and ratings badges for users. Once we have that network in place then Airtasker can totally expand into other verticals.”
Criticism aside, Airtasker’s investors are obviously convinced of the model’s capability, now we just have to wait and see if it can build that all-important network of trust.
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