TaskRabbit Burrows Further Into New York, Buys SkillSlate

Entrepreneurs in the crowdsourced-services niche must be feeling a lot like the knights battling the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail these days. San Francisco service-networking site TaskRabbit, fresh off a $17.8 million funding round, is eating up the competition.

According to an e-mail received Tuesday night from TaskRabbit marketing staffer Johnny Brackett, the startup plans to announce Wednesday that it has acquired SkillSlate, a New York startup similar to TaskRabbit in some respects. The financial terms of the acquisition aren’t being disclosed. SkillSlate, co-founded by former UBS investment banker Bartek Ringwelski and former Yahoo Real Estate product manager Brian Rothenberg, is a services marketplace that closed a $1.2 million round of angel and venture funding in August 2010, according to a regulatory filing.

SkillSlate’s specialty is matching service professionals such as movers, handymen, and programmers with consumers who post service requests. Like TaskRabbit, it does the matching online. But in contrast with TaskRabbit’s workers, many of whom handle less-skilled jobs like grocery pickup or office cleaning, SkillSlate workers focus on “skill-based and artistic tasks,” in the words of a TaskRabbit blog post shared with Xconomy. “By integrating SkillSlate’s platform with TaskRabbit’s, we will be able to provide an even more enhanced service—one where folks can get help with practically anything,” the post says.

TaskRabbit, which was born in Boston in 2009 under the name RunMyErrand, has raised more than $23 million in funding and has expanded to seven regions, including New York City. Ringwelski will become TaskRabbit’s’s director of financial planning and analysis and Rothenberg will become director of online marketing, according to the post. SkillsSlate chief technology officer Mike Nelson will join TaskRabbit’s engineering team.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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