Leah Busque was raised in a metropolis so small that it had no streetlights. When she became 18, she left domestic in Massachusetts for rural Virginia, to examine at a tiny ladies’ university wherein dairy cows roamed the campus. With her diploma in hand, Busque lower back domestic to marry her high college sweetheart. She turned 22. She got her first process and loyally labored on the employer for seven years. Then TaskRabbit happened.
“Gun in your head, which do you select?” Busque is looking now, grilling her workforce in a convention room at her business enterprise’s San Francisco office. Five years in the past, she founded TaskRabbit as a form of eBay for errands; each person can use it to locate and pay a stranger to take care of the dreck of their lives, from cleaning dishes to ready in line for a brand new iPhone. The employer’s bunny logo is undergoing a redecorate, and Busque is shifting around the room, metaphorical gun to heads, soliciting feedback on the brand new options. She has a herbal leader’s touch, retaining an agenda that’s like a properly-oiled series of speed dates together with her agency’s designers, engineers, advertising folks, and traders–making her a person who believes in the price of a paid helper.
Busque is also a coder; she constructed the authentic TaskRabbit product herself, which makes her that uncommon tech CEO armed with each technical and communicative chops. “You very frequently want cofounders to fill the ones roles, and she or he has both,” says TaskRabbit adviser Tim Ferriss, writer of the excellent-promoting The four-Hour Workweek. “She’s now not the best entrepreneur within the global who can do that, however, we’re talking top five% of marketers inside the USA.” And in proper Ferriss style, inside the days I’m in Busque’s workplace, she squeezes in a mentoring lunch and the corporation’s quarterly deliver-your-kid-to-paintings day earlier than leaving along with her husband–now TaskRabbit’s VP of generation–for Europe to attend every other worker’s wedding ceremony.
As Ferriss well knows, Silicon Valley is a place of storytelling: Ideas and those thrive once they stand for something, or as a minimum stand-in for something large. As a younger female with a compelling backstory and the talent to in shape, Busque has climbed to the pinnacle echelon of Silicon Valley society. The beyond six months were one excessive-profile look after the next–a spot on the podium at South by way of Southwest, onstage following Hillary Clinton at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit, and a unique seat at Dialogue Retreat, a secretive amassing for handpicked leaders to talk about the whole lot from era to the future of religion.
Her celebrity suits well with the narrative her enterprise has embraced–a story that Silicon Valley sorts are giddy approximately and that has helped TaskRabbit’s stature develop. When I first met Busque in early 2011, this story hadn’t completely taken shape. She advised me then that her imaginative and prescient for the startup turned into to “help associates hook up with different neighbors in real-time to percentage their sure abilities once they need help.” Noble as that became, it hardly ever plugged into the sector-changing ambitions of Valley VCs. But the agency took a better calling by means of closing July, while TaskRabbit announced its general capital infusion had expanded to $38 million–way to the $thirteen million it raised in Series C financing, led by means of tech billionaire Peter Thiel’s high-profile funding company Founders Fund. “As quickly as we met [Founders Fund], I knew we had a totally strong shared vision for this enterprise,” Busque announced at the time. “To revolutionize the sector’s labor force.”
That language is used frequently now, each by Busque and her constellation of advisers and funders. TaskRabbit currently has approximately 11,000 runners in 10 markets–this is, eleven,000 human beings who have signed up and cleared history exams and are prepared to profit off of something duties most of the people needs now not to do. That’s the best variety, but it’s no revolution. So as Busque’s commercial enterprise continues to evolve, she’s now pressured to grapple with the second layer of self-inflicted pressure–now not simply a way to draw human beings to TaskRabbit but how it may in all likelihood ever match the targets projected onto it.
TaskRabbit commenced existence in 2008 as RunMyErrand.Com, and it changed into Busque’s solution to secular trouble: One night, she and her husband have been approximate to go meet pals for margaritas while she found out they were out of canine meals. If simplest there was an easy way to discover a neighbor who might already be at the store, the idea–a person they may pay to pick out up the chow.