21 June 2021|Brand Story, Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
The latest in our Brand Story series is on Airtasker a trusted community marketplace that connects people who need work done with people who want to work. People and businesses can simply post a task and then choose from rated, verified and reviewed people ready to work straight away.
Who are the founders and what is their background?
Tim Fung – Tim is co-founder and has been CEO of Airtasker since its inception in 2011. He’s also a co-founder and director of Tank Stream Labs (a Sydney-based technology co-working space), a director of Joe Button (custom suiting) and a director of Circuit Club (motorsport events).
Jonathan Lui – Jono is a co-founder at Airtasker and was the COO when Airtasker started back in 2011. While Jono is no longer actively involved with Airtasker, in the early days he was responsible for product management, engineering and technical operations.
Can you tell us why Airtasker was created? What is its mission?
Airtasker started from a simple idea: why do we ask friends and family to spend their time helping us with tasks, when we could pay people in the local community that have the time, will and skill?
Airtasker’s mission is to empower people to realise the full value of their skills by creating income and purpose, and helping people all around the world get more done.
What are its USPs?
Airtasker is an infinitely horizontal marketplace and is not limited to any particular service. This means that Customers can describe almost any problem they need solved and Taskers can solve that problem on the platform.
The open marketplace is built on trust through transparency and accountability – where quality is determined by marketplace dynamics (that is, positive peer reviews and ratings will lead to greater earning opportunities).
Unlike other market players, Airtasker’s open marketplace allows people to independently collaborate to determine the task scope and price.
Can you share the story of the brand’s journey – from concept to where it is now?
It all began with Tim’s friend and his chicken truck. In 2011, when moving apartments, Tim called upon his friend, Ivan, and asked for his help with his moving tasks and ‘generously paid’ Ivan for his help with a case of beer. They realised everyday tasks were getting more and more expensive, and that people everywhere were looking for opportunities to earn more money.
Airtasker officially launched in 2018 in the UK, and since then, it has grown to support more than 195,000 community members across the UK and Ireland. Airtasker has generated over £17.9m in job opportunities within these markets.
In March 2021, Airtasker became a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and is looking to grow its global footprint and launch into new geographic markets by leveraging Airtasker’s scalable technology platform, centralised operations and marketing strategies.
What’s the secret to the brand’s success?
In service of our mission, the Airtasker marketplace is built upon principles of openness, transparency and accountability in which Taskers are empowered to determine the work they choose to complete and how much they earn for completing that work.
We believe that aligning incentives is critical to long term success, and our business model – in which revenue is tied directly to the amount earned by Taskers – ensures that Airtasker is closely aligned with the success of Taskers, customers and the broader community.
Who are the key personnel and can you tell us a little about their contribution to the brand?
Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui – co-founders (see above)
Yaniv joined Airtasker as Vice President of Engineering in April 2018 and assumed the role of COO in March 2020. Prior to joining Airtasker, Yaniv had a 10 year career at Google as a software engineer and technology leader across Google Search, YouTube and Google Maps.
Nathan joined Airtasker as Finance Director in November 2018 and assumed the role of CFO in April 2019. Nathan has had a career in finance spanning more than 20 years.
Mark joined Airtasker as General Counsel and Company Secretary in February 2021. Mark has over 25 years’ experience as a corporate lawyer, working for major firms in the UK and Australia.
James joined Airtasker as the non-executive Chairperson in March 2016. James is a member of the Board’s Audit and Risk Committee and Nomination and Remuneration Committee.
What are its most successful innovations?
Airtasker is all about empowering people, and it’s the members of the Airtasker community that are the innovators. As an infinitely horizontal marketplace, we’ve seen the rise of brand new service industries and posted tasks such as trampoline assembly or spider removal services.
We apply machine learning and data science algorithms to improve the marketplace experience for both Customers and Taskers. Airtasker aims to empower the entire local services economy on an international scale by enabling the shift of existing service industries to an efficient and easily accessible online ecommerce model.
How has the brand been promoted over the years?
Airtasker community – Members of the Airtasker community have generated buzz by creating unique tasks on the platform. Some recent UK examples include searching for a motivation buddy and seeking a pet chef.
Brand partnerships – we work with a range of leading global brands who have turned to Airtasker to promote their product, and to find the right skillset among our audience. Brand partners have included Simba, Maryland Cookies, Playstation, Sony, Koala, Menulog, and Trip.com.
Growth marketing – We’re investing in organic and paid marketing initiatives to encourage more users to our marketplace. We’re also promoting Airtasker via PR with corporate, consumer and broadcast coverage secured in Australia and UK PR first launching in 2018, with a proactive push with Cherish PR in 2021.
What are the biggest challenges and how have they been overcome?
As an infinitely horizontal marketplace, the biggest challenge has been educating and inspiring people about what they can get done on Airtasker. In response to this, we’ve invested in our growth marketing efforts to create greater awareness of the breadth of opportunity available on Airtasker.
What are the brand’s biggest successes?
Getting Airtasker on the global map has been a big part of its success journey. Starting out in Australia in 2012, the Airtasker platform is also available in the UK, Ireland, and more recently New Zealand, Singapore and the US.
Like many businesses, Airtasker was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but soon found that those offering their services on the platform were quick to shift their focus to contact-free delivery, home office installation and bicycle repairs. Airtasker soon found the marketplace accelerated, and grew at a faster rate compared to 2019.
What are the founders most proud of about the brand?
Tim is most proud of playing a key role in the flexible labour economy, and empowering people with income and purpose so they can realise the full value of their skills. One Tasker we helped recently was Waz who turned to Airtasker to supplement his income after he lost his job during the pandemic.
Can you tell us about any eco/sustainability initiatives the brand has?
Airtasker has played a key role in creating jobs to help rebuild the economy during the pandemic. To date, Airtasker has created over £17.9m in job opportunities within the UK and Ireland.
Can you tell us about any key charity/philanthropic initiatives/efforts the brand has?
While we’re still relatively new to the UK market, we’re constantly searching for ways to better serve our community. We did, however, launch a CSR campaign in Australia – Caretasker.
Following the Australian bushfires, Caretasker was a CSR initiative on Airtasker through which any bushfire affected resident could post a task and instantly connect with more than 30,000 active Taskers from all across Australia to assist with bushfire recovery tasks.
Instead of paying for the regular cost of a task, residents and workers from bushfire affected areas or organisations coordinating recovery efforts could submit a task and pay as little as $5*. There were also no fees payable for bushfire related tasks under the initiative.
What’s next for the brand?
We’ve got big ambitions to build the #1 global marketplace for local services, which will be underpinned by our global expansion. Our sights are set on the US market next!
Can the founders or senior personnel share 5-10 key pieces of advice for success?
- Be agile: If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you need to pivot to meet changing consumer preferences and market conditions. The health and safety of our community is of utmost importance, so one example of how we pivoted was when we created our COVID-19 Safety Centre hub for the UK site.
- Balance short term and long term wins: While it can be tempting to focus on short-term wins, it’s important to set aside time to think about bigger picture projects that might take longer to take effect. Take a step back and decide what projects you should be working on and persevere with the knowledge that if you continue to work on these – and it will pay off!
- Listen, synthesise and decide: It’s vital to seek the wisdom of mentors and advisors, but don’t take what they say as gospel. You’ll get different views and opinions based on their own unique experience and skillset, so it’s important that you synthesise the advice in relation to your own business context and then decide how you want to act.
- Be decisive with decision-making:In a startup, I believe you can be more productive if you’re periodically binary with your decision making. That way, you’ll ensure that each activity you’re driving will be pushing in the same direction.
- Focus on your USPs: Be true to what you do best as a company and make sure you are always focused on that, and doing it better than any of your competitors. Get a pulse on what people want and supply a service that meets demand and solves a real consumer problem.
- Be like a boss: Do what you are good at and outsource the rest! Focus on your key strengths and competencies, and seek out the help of local experts for those things you’re not so good at.
What are their favourite inspirational/motivational/leadership type quotes?
There’s a scene from my favourite movie, Jerry Maguire, that summarises the view about empowering people to realise the full value of their skills.
“Don’t be influenced by the short term share price. Don’t be a paycheck player. Play with your heart.”
What are the brand’s website and social handles?
Yaniv Bernstein – LinkedIn
Jonathan Liu – LinkedIn