With the heavily-funded and U.S.-based TaskRabbit having a few teething problems, the jury is still out on how much growth there is in a reverse-marketplace for ‘tasks’. But that isn’t stopping a few UK TaskRabbit-inspired
clones services from pressing on, though noticeably, one of those, Sorted, recently pivoted away from TaskRabbit’s model.
Today, UK task marketplace Sooqini is announcing that it’s raised $500,000 in seed funding, and with it a new website and greater emphasis on the trust element of its service, including verified sellers via a tie-in with identity and reputation verification startup Veridu. The new backing — the company’s first external funding, having been bootstrapped — is being led by Lars Toft Larsen, and Paolo Rubatto, founder of Start Capital. Both Larsen and Rubatto join Sooqini’s board.
Launched in 2011, London-based Sooqini lets users buy or sell a wide range of services — anything from accounting, translation, and things like digitising business cards, to cleaning, gardening and other general errands. Using a reverse-marketplace model, buyers post tasks to Sooqini’s website or through the iOS app, and receive offers from interested sellers. They then choose the best offer and pay when the job is completed, with Sooqini taking a 15% cut.
The startup says that there are currently around 15,000 sellers offering services on Sooqini and that £300,000 worth of jobs have been posted to date. In addition to the newly-designed website, the iOS app is to be updated this month and an Android version is pegged for October.
As well as its standard offering, the company sells what it calls the ‘Sooqini Silver Service’, which makes the process for buyers a little more frictionless, with Sooqini acting as a sort of Personal Assistant to the buyer. The company says that this elevated service is aimed at users who need a number of tasks done each month. They pay a monthly subscription that also covers the costs of small tasks, such as table reservations and a UK travel itinerary, and Sooqini’s team does the heavy lifting of filtering the best offers from sellers.
The introduction of a premium version of Sooqini is no doubt an attempt at solving the major downside of a reverse-markplace for general tasks in that it requires quite a lot of work from the buyer, which is counter-intuitive from a supply and demand point of view, depending on how bespoke the task is of course. That’s also the reason why competitor Sorted pivoted.
Original news: http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/02/sooqini/