Australian gig economy startup Airtasker has pulled off one of the biggest capital raises of 2017 for its first international foray, announcing plans to open in the UK.
The five-year-old startup raised $33 million from its existing investors including Seven West Media, Exto Partners, Morning Crest Capital and Black Sheep Capital, as well as some newcomers and CEO Tim Fung says the company will now open a London office.
Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner said his company has taken more than its allocation in the raise, said Airtasker “has the right model” as a disruptive business.
“Airtasker’s potential is only getting stronger and we’ll continue to enhance its brand and user base with the full weight of Seven West Media’s assets behind it,” he said.
“Airtasker is proving again and again that it has the right model, people and culture to fundamentally reshape the flexible work economy to the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Tyler Tan, managing director of Skyfield Capital, which also tipped in cash, will become an Airtasker director.
Fung said the company’s research revealed people in the UK shared similar attitudes to Australians, which made it the idea launch pad for the company’s first overseas venture.
“London obviously provides massive urban scale and hasn’t seen as many potentially unsustainable vertical service companies compared to say New York or Shanghai,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Australian operations will continue to expand with Fung estimating that the business is currently at “0.1% of the way towards our overall market potential”.
The business has enlisted the appropriately named Lucas London, who has extensive experience in the UK startup sector, including with Virgin StartUp, and time at UK-based hedge fund Clareville Capital, as country manager.
Fung said several members of the Australian team will be move to London for the launch.
“We’re really committed to the UK market expansion and believe it’s incredibly important to cross-pollinate aspects of the UK and Aussie local flavours, while ensuring that ultimately the Airtasker culture shines through on a global scale,” he said.
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