Start-up tips: Airtasker’s Tim Fung

Airtasker’s CEO on community management and the importance of product

Airtasker is an Australian start-up that connects people who want simple tasks like housecleaning or buying the groceries completed with ‘Runners’ in their local area who will carry out the job in exchange for a fee set by the ‘Sender’.

In its first six months since opening its doors to the public in February, Airtasker has expanded Sydney to Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Techworld Australia spoke to Airtasker co-founder and CEO Tim Fung about some of the lessons he’s learned along the way.

Product matters

“One thing we’ve learned since we started was how much product matters,” Fung says. “When I say that — I guess product being our website and our app — the biggest thing we’ve learned is that we have to create a user experience for people that’s very easy to use.”

“People have an attention span of a minute and on our site we’ve got an average user time on the site of six minutes for an average user which is quite high; it’s quite sticky,” Fung says.

“In terms of getting that repeat traction and getting people to repeat post and keep coming back to our site to run tasks, building the app and making the website completely flow as simply as it can with the least number of screens and the fastest loading time are über critical. More critical than I guess I’d accounted for when we first started the business.”

Help people understand what they need

“We really had to make it even easier for people to decide what they wanted,” Fung says. Airtasker has modified its initial interface to add categories to tasks, based on an analysis of what people were using the site for most frequently.

“When we started the site we just had this open field [for people to post tasks] and we were like ‘just put up whatever you like’,” Fung says.

“We saw tonnes of people take to that, but certainly since we started introducing categories and leading people to what they might want, we’ve seen a huge up-tick in people entering that funnel and starting to post tasks.”

Curating a community

Fung says one thing he learned from talking to people involved with accommodation sharing service Airbnb is the importance of curating their service and community. “If people put up tasks we don’t like or they’re rude or offensive” then Airtasker’s community management team takes it down. “You want your community to respect the marketplace and you want people to know that it’s a real system,” Fung says.

“I think that is one of the biggest things that we’ve really started getting on to — that quality curation. And same thing on the service provider side… If someone has a bad experience with a runner, they let us know straight away and our community management team talks to that person. We’ve got a pretty strict policy with how important it is to make the person who posted the task happy.”

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