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TaskRabbit rolls out on-demand service

TaskRabbit CEO Busque forecasts profitability in 2016

With the sharing economy expanding, TaskRabbit, which focuses on connecting freelancers to available chores, has rolled out a new on-demand service that will allow users to complete tasks within 90 minutes.

The San Francisco-based start-up's new iOs app launched Tuesday. It will enable consumers to book and confirm a task within five minutes, with most chores completed in 90 minutes. Tasks can range from home cleaning to moving help.

"When I founded the company in 2008, on-demand was not something that anyone even talked about," said TaskRabbit CEO Leah Busque. "We've seen the trend of mobile technology really push the trend of consumer expectation to be in real time."

In an interview with CNBC, Busque also said her start-up will become profitable this year.

Rabbit Tasker application on a cell phone.
Source: Rabbit Tasker
Rabbit Tasker application on a cell phone.

More consumers are seeking goods and services, available in real time and through a few clicks on smartphones or other platforms. And other companies in this sharing economy space including Uber and Etsy also are offering various on-demand options, everything from courier services to delivery of food and goods.

TaskRabbit's on-demand offerings are diverse and include home repair and deliveries. Busque said mobile usage has tripled year-over-year in 2015.

And mobile continues to be a major focus for the company. About 85 percent of its customers make requests using mobile platforms. Within that mobile-use category, demand for same-day scheduling had at least doubled even before TaskRabbit formally launched its on-demand service. The desire for the quick turnaround was there, Busque said.

Prior to the on-demand rollout, task requests were confirmed the same day, and completed in the near future, generally in one to three days. Tasks for those time frames will still be available.

TaskRabbit's real-time options are available in 19 U.S. cities and London.

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TaskRabbit so far has raised $50 million. The company declined to offer specific numbers on its users who need a short-term assignment completed, or available workers known as "taskers."

But Busque said the company gets more than 15,000 applications per month from potential "taskers," who are often seeking short-term work and projects through the platform. Plus, there are millions of TaskRabbit customers in the U.S. and the U.K., she said.

Freelance workers set their own prices, and the company takes on average a 23 percent cut, Busque said.

Sharing economy and background checks

Background checks of freelance workers has come front and center In the wake of the deadly shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan, last month. An Uber driver, Jason Dalton, was charged with killing six people.

Read MoreUber: No background-check change after Michigan rampage

TaskRabbit uses a third-party company, SterlingBackCheck to complete its background checks with Social Security number traces, a federal criminal background check and additional county background check. While some who follow the sharing economy have argued mandatory fingerprinting would help screen potential workers more aggressively, TaskRabbit — like Uber —does not use fingerprinting as part of its screening process.

What's more, Busque said every potential tasker offering to do various jobs meets with someone from headquarters, or a company ambassador in smaller markets. Taskers learn about the company and if something isn't right, they have the ability and connections to speak up, she said.

"I think collectively as a group of sharing economy companies, we have to ensure we work together to dedicate safety and trust as our number one priority in this marketplace," she said.

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