From living room floor to $227 million listing: How Airtasker got to where it is today

Airtasker

Airtasker co-founder and chief executive Tim Fung

Airtasker is gearing up to list on the Australian Stock Exchange later this month, following a nine-year journey that’s seen it grow from a living room floor to multimillion-dollar revenues and international growth.

The business filed its prospectus with the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, 8 February, and is expected to list on February 22, under the ticker ART.

Airtasker is seeking to raise $83.7 million through the float.

The offer price for the listing will be $0.66 per share, giving the business an enterprise value of $226.9 million.

In a letter to potential investors, co-founder and chief Tim Fung said more than $1 billion has been paid to gig economy workers through the Airtasker platform since it was founded in 2012.

As a public company, the plan is to direct resources towards “product, software and data capabilities that empower our community”, he wrote, all in a bid to fuel further growth.

“We believe the opportunity to empower the local services economy on a global scale is truly massive”

The IPO follows a strong year for Airtasker. The business generated some $19.3 million in revenue in the 2020 financial year, up from $14 million in the previous 12 months, and recorded a $5.2 million loss.

It expects to report revenue of $24.5 million for this financial year.

From cash injections to acquisitions, controversy to leadership shuffles, here’s how Airtasker got to where it is today.

2012

Airtasker was founded by Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui, reportedly from Fung’s living room floor.

April 2012

The fledgling startup raised $1.5 million in funding and expanded into Melbourne.

February 2013

Airtasker made its first acquisition, taking over competitor TaskBox.

November 2013

The startup closed a $2 million funding round, with capital from Exto Partners, BridgeLane Capital and a range of private equity investors.

July 2014

The growing business made another acquisition, this time of odd-jobs outsourcing business Occasional Butler.

May 2015

Airtasker raised $6.5 million to boost product development and fuel an expansion into Asia.

June 2016

Airtasker raised $22 million in a significant funding round led by Seven West Media.

July 2016

The startup secured a partnership with retail giant The Good Guys, allowing people to purchase electricals and arrange to get help with installation at the same time.

August 2016

Airtasker came under fire from consumer advocate Choice, over claims workers were earning up to $20,000 per month through the platform.

Fung maintained the claim was factual, even if only for a “small number” of people. However, he added that the business was driven by transparency, and vowed to be “more conservative” with such claims in the future.

October 2016

Co-founder Jonathan Lui stepped away from the day-to-day running of the business, to relocate to Singapore and focus on his family.

“Managing operations at the business and being fully present in my personal life has become too big of a challenge,” he said at the time.

May 2017

Airtasker entered into an agreement with Unions NSW, promoting above-award pay rates and fair working conditions for people using its platform.

In the same month, the business secured a partnership with IKEA, allowing shoppers to visit Airtasker kiosks in stores and instantly book freelancers to help them assemble their furniture

October 2017

The business raised a further $33 million in capital, this time to establish operations in the UK.

December 2018

In 2018, it was reported that Airtasker had been hit with a demand to pay back millions in previously claimed R&D Tax Incentives, plus a 75% penalty.

The debacle drew attention to problems in the R&D scheme, and led to industry outcry for change.

August 2020

Just this year, as the pandemic saw swathes of Aussies shift to online shopping, Airtasker reported a 120% uptick in users seeking people to do their Aldi shop for them.

October 2020

Following a strong period of growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, Airtasker extended further, tapping into the New Zealand and Singapore markets.

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