Online peer to peer marketplaces have been made popular by platforms such as Airbnb and Taskrabbit, which we are all too familiar with. Having proven its business models and raised millions of dollars, localized versions of Taskrabbits have sprung all over the world. But are they easily adaptable? Will they work in Singapore? TaskAmigo seems to think so, despite facing several challenges along the way.
With more than 100 transactions processed every month, TaskAmigo claims to be the leader in the peer to peer task outsourcing platform in Southeast Asia now.
“I’m pretty sure there isn’t a competitor that has built this amount of traction in SEA so far. We have a good number of transactions each month with a total value of more than S$7000 – S$9000, mostly from businesses which frequently require runners for office admin work and events.” – Garreth Peh, co-founder of TaskAmigo
Of course, growing TaskAmigo has its challenges. Launched back in 2011, TaskAmigo has been slowly building up its runner base, a critical component of the business to ensure that jobs requested by clients can be executed. As with all other marketplaces, liquidity is the key success determinant. Garreth echoed this to us at e27, sharing that fundamentally, the biggest challenge was and still is in balancing the two-sided service marketplace of needs and wants, especially since their “context is in hiring part-time help, and trust between persons cannot built purely via digital means.”
Having been on the ground and in the peer to peer task outsourcing industry for the past two years, we asked co-founder Garreth what the biggest challenge for the model was in Singapore. Here’s what he shared:
- Small consumer market: there were not enough peers and needs to go around for a fully C2C marketplace
- Strong family unit: there is still a significant amount of people who stay with their families, hence the need to pay for a adhoc help is lesser.
- Relatively short distance between locations: Errands and services requiring mobility are less frequent
- Culture: There is a higher barrier to trust. This is probably debatable, but it is fair to say that in asian cultures, people are more inclined to rely on themselves to solve problems rather than count on strangers, despite being in the same community.
- Low minimum wage: Labour is either more readily available or rather cheap. In the USA, using a community service is almost always cheaper than hiring a part-timer on minimum wage.
With that in mind, TaskAmigo’s business model is still work in progress and a significant amount of changes are en-route. The team is also planning and exploring regional opportunities for expansion.
TaskAmigo will be exhibiting at Echelon 2013. The team is looking for mentors with experience in the human resources and recruitment industry, potential partners for expansion abroad, or any businesses in the recruitment industry for synergistic opportunities. If you are a developer interested in what the team is working on, TaskAmigo is keen to talk to you as well.