Ikea Acquires TaskRabbit
Ikea, the Swedish home goods retailer, said on Thursday that it had agreed to acquire TaskRabbit, a sharing economy on-demand platform that connects consumers with skilled “Taskers” to handle everyday needs such as furniture assembly, moving and packing, general handyman work, and home improvements. Ikea declined to say how much it would pay for the privately held TaskRabbit, which will continue to operate independently once the deal closes, expected in October. In November 2016, Ikea started a successful pilot with TaskRabbit in London to enable furniture-assembly services by Taskers to Ikea customers.
“In a fast-changing retail environment, we continuously strive to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers’ lives a little bit easier,” said Jesper Brodin, chief executive of Ikea. “Entering the on-demand, sharing economy enables us to support that.”
Total Retail’s Take: Good move, Ikea. Acquiring the San Francisco-based TaskRabbit, which operates in 40 cities in the United States and U.K. — will endear Ikea to millennials, improve its customer service offerings and learn from TaskRabbit’s digital and data expertise. Many established companies are increasingly turning to Silicon Valley to help their businesses grow, or slow their declines. Wal-Mart, for example, has become one of the more active buyers of startups as it grapples with a shift to e-commerce, including a June deal to buy men’s online clothier Bonobos. Several large firms have launched small Silicon Valley outposts and venture capital arms of their own. However, they often say it makes more sense to buy these startups than build a new brand or operation themselves.