Santa Monica Means Business: Local Entrepreneurs Make Your Tasks Their Business
Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir have been in business together since they met at Santa Monica High School less than a decade ago. Graduates of the class of 2004, Maddock made his mark as the school’s student council representative to the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board, while Weir minded the council’s dollars and cents as treasurer.
As the two 22-year-olds gear up for the official launch of their new company, TaskUs.com, they find their history of innovative partnership paying off.
During their senior year, Maddock and Weir hatched a savvy business plan that soon turned into a summer job spanning their college careers. With high school students in mind, they started a summertime Monday night gathering for teens at The Forbidden City nightclub in Hollywood, charging $15-$20 a head for high schoolers in search of safe socializing.
“It was a safe environment where students could dance and have a good time,” Weir said. “It was the dream summer job; we didn’t have to work the rest of the year.”
After graduating from New York University in three years’ time and at the top of his class, Maddock took a step away from self-employment, diving into the challenging world of investment banking. “It was a great experience and I learned a lot about hard work, but I was frustrated with the long hours and some of the mindless tasks,” Maddock said. “I was home for Christmas one year and I said to Jaspar ‘I need to get back to being an entrepreneur.’”
That’s when the two high school friends began to brainstorm about building their own business. Weir had just graduated from the University of Southern California and the two were ready for a new challenge.
“We knew it had to be online and we knew it had to take advantage of the global economy,” Weir said.
Six months later, TaskUs.com was born. Now in its early stages, the online company will officially launch in January. Essentially an overseas outsourcing facilitator, TaskUs.com serves businesses and individuals looking for help with a variety of tasks, offering everything from administrative assistance to vacation planning and website design. The only catch is the tasks performed by the TaskUs.com team cannot be those that need to be done in person, because the TaskUs.com service providers are all overseas.
“We’re trying to tear down the geographic barriers in doing business,” Maddock said. “If you don’t need your administrative assistant to get your coffee or do your dry cleaning, it is much more cost effective to come to us. We will only do the things that you need done and we will get those things done by the best professionals in the world.”
It’s outsourcing with an added benefit – Maddock, Weir, and their team of administrators work as the middlemen, so you don’t have to. All clients who use TaskUs.com are assigned an American administrator who deals with any and all overseas contact. Since June, Weir and Maddock have been calling service providers worldwide, putting each potential TaskUs.com partner to the test. Those that deliver get certification and become part of the TaskUs.com team.
“Eighty to ninety percent of the companies we have been working with don’t make the final cut,” Maddock said. “It’s like the Wild West out there; people say they can deliver and then the reality is very different. We will only work with providers who show us they can deliver.”
As for the target TaskUs.com audience, Maddock said it’s everyone from soccer moms to small business owners. The only criterion is the desire to save time and money by outsourcing tasks.
“You can use us to plan your next family vacation or build your business,” Maddock said. “If you’re a doctor or a yoga instructor, you shouldn’t be spending time doing administrative work, it doesn’t make sense.”
December rates at TaskUs.com, while the business is still in the trial phase, are $7.95 per hour. In January the hourly rate jumps to $15.95 per hour, unless customers buy hours in bulk – a bundle of 100 hours costs only $7.95 an hour.
“We are willing to work with Santa Monica-based businesses to come up with special deals,” Weir said. “Even though we’re an international business, we want to help local businesses first.”
For more information, visit TaskUs.com.