TaskRabbit’s New CEO Is An Inspiration To Other Black Women In Tech

By Carolyn Said
San Francisco Chronicle

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A major boost this week for women as leaders in tech as Stacy Brown-Philpot was named the new CEO for Task Rabbit. The tech company connects task rabbits (odd job-seekers) with customers who need certain tasks done like a home cleaned or an ikea desk built. At a time when many are concerned with the diversity of women and minorities in silicon valley; this is a solid example of empowering women.

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco’s TaskRabbit has named Chief Operating Officer Stacy Brown-Philpot as its CEO, making her one of the few black women to lead a Bay Area tech company. Leah Busque, who has led the odd-jobs marketplace since founding it eight years ago, will become executive chairwoman.

“Since she joined three years ago, Stacy has helped TaskRabbit evolve the platform, launch in international markets (London) and recruit talent at all levels of the company,” Busque wrote in a post on Medium. TaskRabbit’s revenue has more than doubled annually during that time, she said, and is now quadrupling compared with the prior year.

In March, Busque told The Chronicle that TaskRabbit is on track to turn its first profit this year. The company, which has $50 million in venture backing, has not disclosed revenue figures.

In an industry under fire for its lack of diversity, Brown-Philpot stands out. She previously spent almost a decade at Google, including a stint managing operations for flagship products Google Plus, Android and Chrome, as well as overseeing online sales and operations in India. A Stanford MBA, she sits on HP Inc.’s board.

She’s also a director of Black Girls Code, a nonprofit which offers workshops and after-school programs, and founded the Black Googler Network, an employee group that works to attract, develop and retain top black talent at the company.

TaskRabbit’s 60-person staff reflects more diversity than many bigger tech companies. African Americans account for 11 percent of workers, while 5 percent are Latino and 11 percent are Asian. It said that 11 percent of workers are LGBT. The company is 58 percent female and 42 percent male. Women and non-Asian minorities account for much smaller percentages at companies like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.

TaskRabbit was among the first companies in what came to be called the gig economy, in which Internet marketplaces connect independent-contractor workers with customers and take a cut of each job booked. It faces some well-funded startup rivals including Handy and Thumbtack, while behemoths Amazon and Google have created their own home-services businesses.

While its contract workforce has grown, the company’s full-time workforce has stayed constant for the past three years. It’s gone through several iterations of how its Taskers are assigned. In March, it said it would focus on instant gratification, promising to find workers within five minutes for jobs such as cleaning a kitchen or assembling Ikea furniture. Many jobs will be complete within 90 minutes of being requested, Busque said.

“I’m leaning into a few other causes I’m passionate about, including my family,” wrote Busque, who is expecting her second child. “Mostly, I’m again focused on the long-term future of the business. … With this move, I can be more focused on the next wave of challenges facing the company that we haven’t even thought of yet.”


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