Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Switch

Ikea has purchased TaskRabbit, because #adulting is hard

By Brian Fung

September 28, 2017 at 1:27 PM

A customer carries a newly purchased saucepan after shopping on the opening day of IKEA of Sweden AB's first department store in Belgrade, Serbia, on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Home retailer IKEA of Sweden AB said it would start selling batteries for rooftop solar panels in the latest sign that once-costly storage technologies are becoming mainstream. Photographer: Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg (Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg News/)

Ikea, the Swedish furniture store, is famous for its wordless assembly instruction booklets. But in case you have trouble figuring out the pictures — or simply lack the patience for hex wrenches — the company said Thursday that it's buying TaskRabbit, the gig-economy start-up that lets you contract out those types of tasks to other people.

The two companies did not disclose the size of the purchase. But in a release, Ikea said that the deal will allow it to connect customers directly to the freelancers on TaskRabbit's digital platform, many of whom already do packing and moving, furniture assembly or cleaning.

"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," Jesper Brodin, Ikea's chief executive, said in a news release.

The deal has TaskRabbit starting off helping U.S. and Britain-based customers, but Ikea said that it could eventually add TaskRabbit support in some of the other 27 countries where the home goods giant operates.

TaskRabbit chief executive Stacy Brown-Philpot said the acquisition could help its contractors — known as Taskers — make more money from each job and further expand the company's footprint.

"TaskRabbit is making life better for both consumers and Taskers," she said. "In the communities in which we operate, TaskRabbit provides strong economic impact."

The deal is expected to close in the next 30 days, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke anonymously to discuss details of the agreement.


Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications, Internet access and the shifting media economy. Before joining The Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.

Post Recommends
Outbrain

You obviously love great journalism.

With special savings on our Basic Digital package, you’ll never miss a single story again.

Already a subscriber?

Secure & Encrypted