Lest IKEA customers spend precious weekends and vacation days assembling inexpensive furniture based on wordless instructions, the company has announced it will buy San Francisco-based on-demand task-doer service TaskRabbit, i.e. the Uber for handymen and those well versed in assembling IKEA wall units. As the Associated Press reports, IKEA was testing the use of TaskRabbit in its London stores late last year, and it's planning to roll out a TaskRabbit add-on at more UK and US stores soon.
The acquisition deal is set to close in a month, and until then TaskRabbit remains an independent company.
Recode speaks to sources who say that TaskRabbit will remain an independent subsidiary of the furniture company, and CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot is expected to remain. The company has about 60 employees but more than 60,000 independent contractors on the platform, all of whom set their own hourly rates for various tasks from picture-hanging, to house-cleaning, to moving assistance.
Brown-Philpot told Recode the deal is "opportunistic" for them, and she has previously said that the company was already cash-flow positive in its cities and nearing profitability overall.
In an email to customers Thursday, Brown-Philpot says, "The acquisition makes perfect sense for both IKEA and TaskRabbit. We've been working together the past 18 months and realized that we have a lot in common, starting with the same vision: to make a better life for many people... With the combined forces of IKEA and TaskRabbit, you'll be able to hire a Tasker to deliver and assemble IKEA furniture on your schedule, at a price you can afford, seamlessly."
Slate notes that the move is one of several IKEA has made to update itself with the latest technology, including selling things like wireless charging tables, and launching an augmented reality app called IKEA Place last week that lets you scan a room and virtually place IKEA furniture in it.
IKEA, with its 389 stores worldwide and over 180,000 workers, has not disclosed how much it is paying to acquire TaskRabbit.