Jonathan Lui, co-founder of successful Australian startup Airtasker, is stepping down as COO at Airtasker.
Lui has cited family illness as the reason for his departure.
In a blog post on the company’s website he says: “I’ve always been a family oriented person. Managing operations at the business and being fully present in my personal life has become too big of a challenge. So, in December, I will leave my day-to-day role with the company and relocate to Singapore with my wife to be closer to my family.”
Lui, along with his co-founder Tim Fung, launched Airtasker in 2012. Since then it has had 800,000 people use its service, created over $81 million worth of jobs, and raised a total of $32 million in capital.
Read Lui’s statement in full here.
Growing a startup is one of the most amazing experiences a person can have in their life. Those who have been fortunate enough to be involved in seeing a business go from being nothing more than an idea to a thriving company will understand how exciting it can be.
However, with business success comes sacrifice, and there may come a time where the personal trade-off for building a company is simply too much. Up until this point, I’ve been very fortunate in that growing Airtasker hasn’t challenged my work-life balance – even as the company rapidly grew from a small startup to the successful business it is today.
In recent months, that steady balance was impacted by unfortunate news – my wife’s father has been diagnosed with a severe illness. At the same time, Airtasker requires more attention than ever before. We’re adding more and more users every day and reaching new heights. We’ve taken on new investors and started an enterprise arm that’s generating significant interest – both of which are driving Airtasker to unprecedented levels.
I’ve always been a family oriented person. Managing operations at the business and being fully present in my personal life has become too big of a challenge. So, in December, I will leave my day-to-day role with the company and relocate to Singapore with my wife to be closer to my family.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe only a couple of years ago Tim and I came up with the idea of Airtasker after I helped him move house – scoring an old couch out of it for my troubles. It seemed like a normal weekend at the time, but it would become the catalyst for the creation of Airtasker.
Even with great support from our mentors, early investors and the invaluable experience gained as part of the founding team at amaysim, starting our own startup still wasn’t going to be easy!
In the early days of founding Airtasker, Tim and I had to wear a lot of hats. Heading up the product, technology and operational arms of the business meant I made decisions on the design, development and delivery of everything that a user would touch or feel. As you can no doubt imagine, this was a huge challenge and a massive responsibility. However, with just a handful of people in the team, we managed to design and build an amazing marketplace that created the foundation of what Airtasker is today.
As users on the platform grew and the business expanded as did our team, I could no longer be across development of the platform down to the detail that I had grown used to. This was something I always knew would happen, and fortunately we’ve been able to find some really awesome people to join the company and continue to drive things forward. I am so grateful to have worked with a team who have the same passion to change the way Australians work.
I am still in awe every time I look at Airtasker and see jobs being done every minute of the day. I am very proud and thankful to our team, our investors, our families and every single one of our users, all contributing to make the marketplace what it is today. Whilst I’m sad that I can no longer steer the business from an operational perspective, having built and worked alongside our team for so many years, I am super excited and confident that the team will continue to push the envelope.
As for myself, I have not yet decided on what my next career move will be. I’m looking forward to continuing my involvement with Airtasker as a non-executive director and advisor. I am also excited to be based in Singapore – one of the world’s most prominent tech hubs – for the foreseeable future. I’ll be immersing myself in the local startup scene and supporting my wife and family through this difficult period. It will be uncharted territory for me, but as with founding a startup, it is the challenge that drives me forward.
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