TaskUs founder path to Nasdaq started with high school parties and a yogurt venture in Argentina

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TaskUs founder path to Nasdaq started with high school parties: Founded 13 years ago by a pair of childhood best friends, TaskUs held its Nasdaq debut on Friday. Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, the co-founders, are each worth about $400 million after the IPO. They’ve built the business to 27,500 employees and close to $500 million in annual revenue by providing outsourced customer support services to companies like Uber and Coinbase.

KEY POINTS

  • Founded 13 years ago by a pair of childhood best friends, TaskUs held its Nasdaq debut on Friday.
  • Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, the co-founders, are each worth about $400 million after the IPO.
  • They’ve built the business to 27,500 employees and close to $500 million in annual revenue by providing outsourced customer support services to companies like Uber and Coinbase.

For Bryce Maddock and Jasper Weir, the Nasdaq’s journey began at a high school in Southern California, an entertainment venture for high schoolers and continued through a failed yogurt business in Argentina, and eventually to a Texas town with its produce. became famous for Historic Water Park

Now in their mid-30s, Maddock and Weir are each worth about $400 million and oversee a business with 27,500 employees worldwide. Thirteen years after investing its life savings in a venture called TaskU, the company made its stock market debut on Friday, and is estimated to be worth $2.8 billion. The stock, trading under the ticker symbol “TASK,” jumped 26% to $29.

TaskU provides customer support services for rapidly growing tech companies including Uber, Netflix, Coinbase, and Zoom. Employees are spread across eight countries, and TaskU dedicates hundreds or even thousands of employees to its key customers so that it can handle all of their support-related issues. Revenue rose 33% to $478 million last year, and profitable TaskU — a rarity among new public tech companies — showed annual net income of $34.5 million last year.

Maddock, CEO, says TaskU often caters to companies that “realize that their growth is going to be so aggressive that they may take longer to do everything themselves.”

For example, Zoom took a call in early 2020, when the video chat company’s pandemic-induced growth prompted a 30-fold spike in support requests, according to an online roadshow. TaskU soon had 700 employees working on its account.

Clients like Zoom are the reason the company’s president, Maddock and Weir, went on the Nasdaq on Friday to ring the closing bell. But the trajectory is not always up and to the right.

High school summer parties

Maddock and Weir became best friends two decades ago while studying at Santa Monica High School, which is just a few blocks from one of California’s most famous beaches. Weir lived nearby to study at the University of Southern California, while Maddock moved abroad to New York University.

TaskUs founders’ path to Nasdaq started with high school parties and a yogurt venture in Argentina
Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in New Braunfels, Texas.
Erich Schlegel | Getty Images

Nevertheless, he put his head and purse together and built his first business, an entertainment agency that rented out venues around Los Angeles and hosted alcohol-free parties for high school kids.

“We grew up in Los Angeles and one thing we realized was that in the summer, high school kids didn’t have much to do,” Maddock said in an interview. They call it Club Access and run the business from 2005 to 2007, attracting 800 to 1,000 kids on average Monday nights.

After college, he decided to give Buenos Aires a try. Weir had studied abroad in Argentina and wanted to start a business there. He and Maddock decided to start a frozen yogurt shop. They fly together and meet investors and chemists who can mix flavors. However, he quickly learned that opening a small business and earning pesos in Argentina was not the way to make money, and he abandoned the idea before it even surfaced.

He moved back in with his parents and invested the $20,000 he saved from the event business into his next venture: task-based virtual assistants. They chose to start in the Philippines, which is one of the top countries in the world for call centers and outsourcing.

“We used our combined savings to rent a one-bedroom office on the side of the highway about an hour south of Manila and hire our first few employees,” he wrote in the founder’s letter section of the prospectus.

In their initial conversations with startups, Maddock and Weir said they quickly learned that busy executives didn’t want task-based help, but needed more comprehensive support services to help them as they got older. . TaskU expanded its focus to cover more business processes, and the founders landed several venture-backed startups.

“As we gain their trust, we take on the more important parts of their operations such as advanced technical support and critical content reviews,” he wrote.

As of 2012, TaskU is established enough to hit Uber’s radar, which is still early in its development, despite the rapid growth and round-up of major enterprises. Maddock said the message from Uber at its initial meeting in San Francisco was that the online ride-hailing company would never outsource its services. The next year it completely changed.

“He called us back and said outsourcing is a good idea now,” says Maddock.

According to the prospectus, TaskU began working with Uber in 2013, reviewing and directing drivers. In 2014, he began helping with rider and driver support. A year later, TaskU had over 2,000 people dedicated to Uber.

Similarly, TaskU started working with Coinbase when demand started to increase. It was in 2017, when “Bitcoin became a major obsession, and the amount of support soared through the roof,” the filing said. Over time, TaskU began to address customer fraud, compliance and security needs for Coinbase.

The Philippines is still the company’s largest center, with 19,000, or more than 70% of its employees located there. The US is the second largest country with over 4,000 employees, followed by India and Mexico.

TaskU was originally headquartered in Santa Monica, but began moving to Texas in 2016 with the opening of the San Antonio office, then to nearby New Braunfels, which is its current headquarters. New Braunfels is home to the Schlitterbahn, a 42-year-old water park that spans more than 70 acres and is home to one of the city’s 80,000 largest entrepreneurs.

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