TaskRabbit CEO: "We want to be coast to coast"

TaskRabbit CEO on company expansion

Online marketplace TaskRabbit finds people willing to help with everyday work. With a few clicks, users can connect with someone to do chores such as assembling new furniture, washing dogs, running errands and even waiting in a line.

The company currently operates in nearly 30 cities in the U.S. and U.K. Wednesday morning, TaskRabbit announced that it's expanding to 20 new cities. Next week, Detroit, Raleigh-Durham and Nashville will be among the places to get the service.

Stacy Brown-Philpot, TaskRabbit's CEO, came to the company about four years ago after spending nearly a decade with Google. She joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss the future of the company, being a female CEO in the tech industry, and concerns about the unstable nature of work in the "gig economy."


Brown-Philpot's conversation began with an explanation of how the app, founded in 2008, works.

"So you can download an app and hire someone safe and reliably to come and do chores around your house. So in just five minutes you can find a trusted person who can hang some shelves on a wall, assemble your Ikea furniture, or if you're moving help you move," Brown-Philpot explained.

"All of our taskers go through a very rigorous vetting process that includes a background check at the federal, state and local level and screening. They also get screened with their bank account and so we know who they are and verify their identity."

While Brown-Philpot clarified that the taskers won't do absolutely "anything," they have taken on some unusual requests. She recounted a story of a man whose basement stairs collapsed. He was trapped and used TaskRabbit to call for someone to come and build stairs to help him get out.

Before Brown-Philpot was the CEO, she was COO — chief operating officer. The top job required a bit of an adjustment.

"The hardest part was, you become the CEO and now you have to define a vision, define a strategy, and lead people towards a goal where they don't know that it's possible but they can reach their potential."

Now her plans are to keep the company growing. 

"We want to be coast to coast, and be coming to the heartland of America, which is what this expansion is about ... just essentially doing that," Brown-Philpot said. 

"CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell asked Brown-Philpot to address the larger concerns about the "gig economy," citing a recent New Yorker article that quoted a TaskRabbit employee who said, "These are jobs that don't lead to anything. It doesn't feel sustainable to me."

"TaskRabbit is about job creation. Every day what we get to do is help people find meaningful work. We have 30,000 people who show up on our site every month who want to task on TaskRabbit. They make $35 per hour on average, which is five times the minimum wage," Brown-Philpot said.

On being an African-American and female CEO in the tech industry, she said, "I'm a representative of what you can become if you work hard and you focus on your education. And in Silicon Valley we're talking about it and I'm glad that the conversations are happening. We need to do more."