Sydney-based jobs marketplace platform Airtasker has raised $33 million to expand to the UK in one of the biggest capital raises of the year for an Australian start-up.
The large capital injection came from the startup’s existing shareholders, including Seven West Media, Exto Partners, Morning Crest Capital, Black Sheep Capital and Skyfield Capital, whose managing director Tyler Tan will become a director at the company.
Airtasker, which was founded in 2012, provides a two-way marketplace platform for users to outsource tasks, or complete these flexible tasks in order to earn money.
The service has grown rapidly and is now a key player in the increasingly prevalent gig economy.
The company says it now has more than 1.7 million community members in Australia, with more than $85 million being generated in transactions annually.
The start-up raised $22 million last year, but co-founder and CEO Tim Fung said this latest round was necessary to facilitate Airtasker’s first international expansion into the UK.
“Our research indicates UK customers share similar attitudes to Australians when it comes to trust in the community and getting things done. London obviously provides massive urban scale and hasn’t seen as many potentially unsustainable vertical service companies compared to say New York or Shanghai,” Fung said.
It’s a big moment for the young Australian tech company, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t still looking to grow in its local country, Fung said.
“We’re only just scratching the surface of the Australian market and estimate we’re about 0.1 percent of the way towards our overall market potential,” he said.
“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 five years building.”
Airtasker’s UK presence will be lead by the aptly named former Yubl commercial lead Lucas London, who is also a startup advisor, mentor and investor.
“I am extremely excited to be joining the Airtasker team and really believe in the mission -- to empower people to realise the value of their skills,” London said.
“London is absolutely screaming for a local, open community platform like Airtasker, and whilst launching in the UK will be a huge amount of work, there’s a massive opportunity ahead of us. I am absolutely thrilled to be leading on-the-ground in the UK and having a positive impact on the future of work.”
Fung said London was hired after an “extensive” search, and a number of Australian employees will be relocating to the UK to guide the expansion.
“We’re really committed to the UK market expansion and believe it’s incredibly important to cross-pollinate aspects of the UK and Aussie local flavours, while ensuring that ultimately the Airtasker culture shines through on a global scale,” Fung said.
Airtasker’s funding round is one of the biggest of the year for a local start-up, with mobile advertising start-up Unlockd raising $30.7 million and ROKT scoring $34.5 million in June.