The vision for revolutionizing how work gets done led Leah Busque to pioneer the concept of “Service Networking,” forging a leading role in the Collaborative Consumption movement. Since bootstrapping TaskRabbit in 2008, Busque has expanded the company internationally, raised nearly $50 million in venture funding, and inspired legions of startups to launch in the Collaborative and Service Networking space.
Leah Busque is passionate about technology and has over 15 years of experience building and innovating across the industry. She started her career at IBM as a software engineer, but it was a vision for revolutionizing the way people work that led Busque to pioneer the concept of “service networking” and found TaskRabbit. She quickly propelled TaskRabbit into a leading role in defining the early days of the sharing economy. Her unique experience in Silicon Valley as one of the very few female tech CEOs didn’t slow her down, as she raised over $50 million dollars in venture funding and expanded TaskRabbit internationally.
In 2017, Leah became a General Partner at FUEL Capital, and oversaw TaskRabbit’s successful sale to IKEA, the multinational home décor corporation. Busque is also a trustee on the board of Sweet Briar College, a small women’s college in Virginia, and is highly engaged in reshaping women’s education to fill the “pipeline problem” of women entering into technology careers. She serves on the board and advises many startups in the technology, e-commerce, and education spaces.
As a working mom of two young children, Busque loves to share her passion for entrepreneurship, women in technology, and education to inspire and motivate her audience.
Mom always told us not to talk to strangers, but are there really any strangers today? Five years ago, it was unthinkable to flag down a random car and hop in for a ride, but today, with the use of technology, we don’t hesitate in sharing rides with people we don’t know. We are willing to hire a handyman through an app, such as TaskRabbit, and we are renting out rooms in our own houses to people we’ve never met before. How did the sharing economy begin and what will it evolve to next? In this dynamic speech, Busque will share her story of starting TaskRabbit and why 2008 was a pinnacle for the beginning of the sharing economy. Over the last 8 years, this new trend has evolved into mainstream adoption and continues to grow and scale in new ways that are changing the future of work. Busque will explore how businesses, large and small, will need to evolve to support this new fragmented workforce, and how, despite the skeptics, providing more flexibility and entrepreneurship in our work environments will drive innovation, support diversity, and ultimately translate to stronger, longer-lasting companies.
After 8 years as a software engineer at IBM, Busque quit her job to found TaskRabbit. With no prior business experience, no MBA, and by withdrawing $20,000 from her IBM pension account, it was a cold winter night when she had the idea for founding TaskRabbit. After bootstrapping the company for 18 months, maxing out credit cards, and building the business from the ground up, Busque was able to raise over $50 million dollars in venture funding, expand the company internationally, and propel TaskRabbit as a leader of the sharing economy movement. Then in 2017, Leah oversaw TaskRabbit’s successful sale to IKEA – the multinational home décor corporation’s first step into the on-demand platform space.
There were many lessons learned along the way, and in this dynamic speech, Busque will share five important lessons that changed the game for her life and her business. From having “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” to discovering ideas, instead of inventing them, Busque will explore how anyone can be entrepreneurial and drive innovation for their team, business, or organization, ultimately achieving greater happiness for themselves and truly loving what they do.
We constantly hear about the “pipeline problem” of women in the technology industry. Companies want to hire more women and drive more diversity, but they say they struggle in finding qualified candidates. Is the pipeline problem real and how can we better prepare our girls and young women for careers in the technology industry? Busque will share her experiences from how her eight-year-old self-learned about what a CEO does, to having strong female mentors and role models throughout pivotal educational years, to quitting her job at IBM to found TaskRabbit – a pioneer of the sharing economy movement. Her experiences as a speaker for Girls Who Code, mentor for Girls in Tech, and board Trustee for Sweet Briar College have shaped her perspective on bridging the gap for women in technology. As we strive to increase diversity in the pipeline, Busque will also share how companies can start finding qualified diverse candidates today, by increasing their focus on culture building, investing in diversity and inclusion programs, and working with untraditional recruiting resources to fill the gap immediately. The audience will be left motivated, inspired, and with new tools at the ready to drive diversity for their organization.