We all know that there’s just never enough time in a day to get everything done. Or there are those little tasks that we’re just better off outsourcing.
In the Age of the Sharing Economy, Job-Runners is just the ticket. It’s an online marketplace that will help you find the help you need, when you need it. And they’ve not only vetted those helpful ‘Runners’ for you – they also donate part of their proceeds to local charities. Because founders Martina Segerer and Laura Woodroof believe in helping, too. On many fronts, as they explain…
Tell us about the service.
Job-Runners is an online open marketplace that allows users to outsource home and workplace errands, chores and small projects to local background-checked people (Runners) in their community.
How is it different?
We believe that the sharing economy – predicted to generate over $300 billion in revenue by 2025 – has a real opportunity and responsibility to make a social impact as it grows. Millennials make up a significant portion of our users, and they want to give back – whether it be through their employment, consumption or their day to day activities. Young people and society as a whole are looking to engage in philanthropic behavior and activities – and we plan to cater to and address that need.
Job-Runners has local charity partners in each of the cities in which we operate. We are truly committed to making a difference by donating a portion of our service fee for each job completed to our partners. We also use our platform to post volunteer opportunities to our Runner community, and we hold events with our partners, including clothes drives and resume writing workshops to give just a few examples.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Globally, revenues from the sharing economy are estimated to be $15 billion this year and anticipated to reach over $300 billion by 2025. More and more, individuals, families, businesses and organizations are sharing what they own or offering up their assets to others. A car, a spare bed to sleep on, a bike, tools, their services – even their capital, and the “sharing economy” has uncovered new benefits for the communities that participate in it.
Now add to this an unemployment rate that is still around 6%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, underemployment (people who need to work more or are holding onto part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time ones) is running even higher, at 12%. We are also seeing a shift in labor models, i.e. more and more people are looking for flexible alternatives to traditional employment. Many already proclaim the end of the 9 to 5 job.
All of these developments create an enormous market opportunities for us on both the supply and demand side.
What is the business model?
We run an open marketplace model whereby users post details of the job they want completed, and our pool of background-checked Runners provide quotes for the job. Users are then able to review the profiles of our Runners and pick the Runner they want for the job.
Flexibility is core to our model. Users appreciate the flexibility to post whatever kind of job they want without being restricted by a limited set of categories. Given that the jobs often involve meeting people in person or being in someone’s home, our users also want the flexibility to select their Runner themselves, based on prior reviews and experience rather than just having someone assigned to them. Last but not least, our Runners also really value the flexibility and freedom of micro-entrepreneurship. They are in control and choose what jobs they want to complete and can provide quotes based on the details of the job.
What sort of tasks are most popular in NYC among your users, based on your collected data?
There are, of course, the typical job postings for cleaning, handyman work and deliveries. However, we also have seen an equal number of jobs which fall outside of these categories, including online research for vacations, event support, running errands around the city and perhaps one of the most unusual jobs yet, create an instrumental version of a song by The Decemberists, for a Halloween themed karaoke party!
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Growing our user base continues to be a primary objective. We are well on track to more than meet our targets (from both a user and number of job postings perspective) based on the month over month growth rates we are currently experiencing.
In the next three months, we will increase our geographic footprint as well. As of now, we are primarily serving NYC and its surrounding areas such as Jersey City and Hoboken, but we will launch our services in at least 2-3 other cities on the East coast and in the Mid-West region over the next three months.
Technology improvements are also high on our list. We plan to not only improve our website for an even better user experience, but will have a mobile app ready to go!
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
There are so many great Angels and VC Seed investors in this growing NYC market we would LOVE to speak to! Right now, we would choose Golden Seeds, the early stage investor group focused on women-led businesses that is very active in the NYC area.
Why did you launch in New York?
First of all, we both live in NYC, so it made sense from a geographic perspective – it’s our home turf, after all. Secondly, NYC is a great test market when it comes to supply and demand. Finally, the tech scene in NYC is really taking off and it’s an exciting and progressive place to be!
What’s your favorite fall destination in NYC?
We are city girls, so it has to be Central Park. If you get there at the right time, the weather is fantastic, the foliage is amazing and a walk in the park is a perfect Sunday afternoon activity after brunch!