TaskRabbit gets rocket fuel with $17.8M funding round

TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque

TaskRabbit, the online marketplace that lets people outsource errands and other small jobs, has raised $17.8 million in a fresh round of funding.

The new round, which serves as TaskRabbit’s Series B, was led by LightSpeed Venture Partners. The San Francisco-based company’s existing investors all pitched in as well, along with two new investors: Allen & Company and The Tornante Company, the investment firm led by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

The money comes just seven months after the nearly four-year-old TaskRabbit closed on its $5 million Series A round. According to the company, it’ll just serve as fuel for its already impressive growth: Since May, TaskRabbit says its net revenue and monthly task volume has tripled, while its customer base has increased seven fold.

TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque

The sizable new round also comes just a couple months after TaskRabbit swapped out its founder Leah Busque in the CEO role for a more seasoned executive, Hotwire co-founder Eric Grosse. Big investors often push for a CEO with some “grey hair” as a startup gets bigger, so the recent leadership change may well have been a factor considered — or even suggested — by the folks who participated in this latest batch of funding. Either way, it bears mention that Busque is still with TaskRabbit full-time as chief product officer, and is by all accounts quite happy with the move.

One thing is certain: With big money comes big responsibility, and TaskRabbit has ambitious plans to keep up the growth in the months ahead. The company says it will use the new funds to expand its service both in its native US and abroad (right now TaskRabbit brokers tasks in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Orange County, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago) and on hiring more staff.

The past year has been a really strong one for the peer-to-peer space: TaskRabbit competitor and online marketplace startup Zaarly just nabbed its own $14.1 million funding round, for instance, and new startups in the space are cropping up regularly. It now looks like the excitement will definitely continue well into 2012, and probably beyond.

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