Ikea to buy TaskRabbit

The heads of Task Rabbit and Ikea Group Stacy Brown Philpot and Jesper Brodin    

The heads of Task Rabbit and Ikea Group Stacy Brown Philpot and Jesper Brodin Ikea

According to tech news site Recode, Ikea will treat TaskRabbit, which is reportedly profitable, as an independent subsidiary and keep on its CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot. TaskRabbit will also retain its ability to partner with other retailers outside of Ikea.

This partnership represents IKEA's first foray into the on-demand platform space, and it's a move that makes sense. 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. The company - which has sales of more the $36bn annually and 183,000 workers - recently announced an initiative to shift its 389 stores worldwide to electric vehicle transportation and infrastructure.

And this week, it released a nifty augmented reality app for the Apple iPhone, called "Ikea Place". It has gotten positive reviews. There's no word about the price of the acquisition.

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"The executive team is committed to staying with the company for the near future and beyond", Raval said, adding that there would be no employee layoffs either. At the same time, operating independently, TaskRabbit "will continue to partner with other retailers and commercial partners", the company said.

Ikea said it tested TaskRabbit in its stores in London a year ago and plans to roll out the service in USA stores and more United Kingdom locations.

TaskRabbit is a "gig economy"-style startup founded in 2008". While IKEA charges $89 to $299 to assemble its furnishings, TaskRabbit costs as little as $30 an hour.

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Ikea did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the acquisition.

Ikea offered few details about how it might integrate TaskRabbit into its operations.

Ikea said it "continuously strives to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers' lives a little bit easier". "Entering the on-demand, sharing economy enables us to support that", Ikea chief Jesper Brodin said in a statement.

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The purchase of TaskRabbit was fuelled by Ikea's need to bolster its digital customer service capabilities to better compete with rivals likes Amazon, which has stepped up its home goods and installation services.

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