10 October 2017, Written by Ben Hall

CASHED up online jobs marketplace Airtasker is expanding to the UK after raising more than $33 million from investors including Seven West Media, Skyfield Capital, Exto Partners, Morning Crest Capital and Black Sheep Capital.

The tech company has already appointed a UK head of operations, Lucas London (pictured left), and confirmed several Australian staff will be relocated to London.

Airtasker CEO, Tim Fung (pictured right), says the UK is the right destination for the company's first overseas move.

"Our research indicates UK customers share similar attitudes to Australians when it comes to trust in the community and getting things done," Fung says.

"London obviously provides massive urban scale and hasn't seen as many potentially unsustainable vertical service companies compared to say, New York or Shanghai."

The $33 million capital raising is one of the year's largest and it means that Airtasker is now one of the most highly funded tech companies in Australia.

Fung says that while Airtasker is expanding into a new market for the first time, there are still extensive growth plans for Australia.

"We're only just scratching the surface of the Australian market and estimate we're about 0.1 per cent of the way towards our overall market potential," Fung says.

"We could absolutely bunker down in Australia but we love a challenge, and there's no time like the present.

"So, we've decided to take the same approach as we did with launching in Australia - take the plunge and then learn how to fly again. But this time we'll be able to apply the knowledge we've spent the last 5 years building."

The UK launch of Airtasker will be headed up by Lucas London, who has UK startup industry experience with senior management, advisory and mentoring roles with brands like Yubl, Feast It and Virgin StartUp as well as investment experience having spent five years at UK based hedge fund Clareville Capital.

All current major shareholders participated in the $33 million, including Seven West Media, Exto Partners, Morning Crest Capital and Black Sheep Capital. Skyfield Capital has also invested and managing director Tyler Tan will become an Airtasker director.

Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner says his company has taken more than its allocation in the latest raise.

"Airtasker's potential is only getting stronger and we'll continue to enhance its brand and user base with the full weight of Seven West Media's assets behind it," Worner says.

"We're well known for being active and opportunistic in the market when it comes to technology businesses with disruptive models.

"We look for great ideas being executed by great people. Airtasker is proving again and again that it has the right model, people and culture to fundamentally reshape the flexible work economy to the benefit of all stakeholders."

"These qualities will hold it in good stead as it heads to the UK."

Airtasker is an online community marketplace for people to outsource tasks, find local services or complete flexible jobs to earn money.

Founded in 2012, Airtasker has 1.7 million community members across Australia, and generates more than $85 million per year in task transaction volume and has more than 700,000 community-verified user reviews.

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Business News Australia

Author: Ben Hall





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