Telefónica makes first investment in a Wayra start-up
O2 parent has invested a six figure sum in Taskhub, an online marketplace for tasks and small jobs
By Sophie Curtis | Techworld | Published: 11:41, 11 January 2013
Telefónica's venture capital team has invested a six figure sum in Taskhub, an online marketplace that lets users outsource errands or small jobs to individuals or small businesses in their communities.
Taskhub allows people to post a task and the price they are willing to pay for it. Relevant experts in the local area, who are verified on the basis of a range of checks including customer reviews, can then bid for the job.
“With Taskhub, our aim is to create lasting social change by providing a platform to create safe and meaningful real world connections. We plan to be the single most valuable online source for local engagement through paid jobs and volunteer opportunities,” said Rahul Ahuja, CEO of Taskhub.
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The start-up is currently being accelerated by the London branch of Telefónica’s Wayra Academy, after being selected for the programme last May. Taskhub occupies a shared working space in Central London, where it benefits from mentoring and access to the investor community.
This marks the first time that Telefónica has invested in a Wayra start-up globally. In addition to the investment, Telefónica will also help Taskhub take advantage of opportunities that arise through Telefónica UK.
This includes marketing through O2 channels, including its small business customer base, and using O2 assets such as Priority Moments Local. It will also identify potential synergies with the O2 local government sales team, such as through creating a platform for use by local government entities.
Taskhub, which has been in private beta, launches today in London with the rest of the UK to follow this year. There is also potential for Telefónica to support the company in launching in other markets where Telefónica operates.
“We created Wayra to find and nurture the best technology start-ups and this investment is a fantastic example of how we can then take a start-up beyond seed stage, leveraging both our venture capital capabilities and opportunities within our operating businesses,” said Martin Harriman, Head of Telefónica Digital for the UK and Ireland.
Wayra London opened last summer and is part of a global network that now covers 13 Academies in 12 countries in Europe and Latin America. 10 of these Academies, including London, are currently open to applications.
In other investment news, Rentify, a UK-based software platform that helps landlords to market, manage, and make money from their properties, has secured a £2 million Series A investment from Balderton Capital.
Since founding in 2011, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform has attracted 60,000 users with over £100million of rental properties passing through Rentify’s systems, according to the company.
“Rentify fits the bill for Balderton as a fast-growing, disruptive company that is bringing a fresh, new way for doing business to a large and established market,” said Tim Bunting, Partner at Balderton Capital.