Here in Chicago the weather is hot, the city is thriving and entrepreneurs are seeing success in all different industries. In late June, Chicago hosted the 2nd Annual Techweek event at Merchandise Mart, as we mentioned in a previous post covering a conversion with Arabella Santiago – executive director of Techweek. Now it’s time to take a look at another young entrepreneur who recently expanded her online, service based tech start-up, TaskRabbit, into the Chicago market.
Leah Busque is founder of taskrabbit.com, a business focused on providing any and all services at a moment’s notice. From IKEA furniture assembly to walking your dog, the “rabbits” do it all. Leah conceived of the idea after running into a sticky situation when she and her husband were rushing to leave and had no food for their yellow lab Kobe. “What if someone could pick up the food for us and feed him while we’re heading out for the evening?”
Thus, TaskRabbit was born. TaskRabbit’s slogan, “Keep Calm and Task On,” is not only catchy, but indicative of the style in which Leah operates – a relaxed attitude and straightforward approach to what can be a complicated technology world. Leah is a true woman of technology, being a former coder for IBM and now capitalizing on her female know-how to tap into the most lucrative and highest consuming target market – women. Not only is her company about convenience, it’s also about caring, with their partnership with the Ellie Fund in Boston where services for breast cancer patients, including rides to doctor appointments and picking up groceries, are provided by Rabbits free of charge.
When discussing what she learned as a start-up, Leah listed the following things:
- Talk to everyone about your idea
- Network like you mean it
- If you can get a meeting face to face it’s invaluable
- Iterate on customer feedback
- The right investors will have the same passion and obsession with the business that you have
- Don’t over-think things
Take her advice to heart, after all, she was a CEO at the age of 12. “Pollution Solutions started in 1991. It was a non-profit focused on saving the planet. I wrote letters to the President giving him a piece of my mind and made myself CEO after asking my dad what the highest position in a company was.”
Leah’s final words of advice: “See how far you can take your idea. Go step by step by step. Don’t be afraid to take the leap.”
As reported by Bethany Hartley, WBDC Marketing Assistant, pictured above with Leah Busque (left) at TechWeek Chicago.