A jet-setting entrepreneur who owns his own successful business and is a man of style? No, we are not talking about the latest season of The Bachelor Canada. Rather, it’s Toronto-based founder of Ask for Task.com, Muneeb Mushtaq.
The leading peer-to-peer marketplace in Canada, Ask for Task has over 150,000 users in Canada and leads the way nationally in terms of collaborative consumption. What exactly does that mean? Basically, if you need an errand done, you can post it on Ask for Task (think along the lines of helping you move a couch down the stairs or fixing a leaky faucet). Following this, people can apply to do it for you. You can choose who will carry it out based on an applicant’s ratings from previous tasks. Once chosen, you both have to agree on a fair price. As they describe themselves, Ask for Task is essentially “Ebay for services.” After the “Tasker” has completed your errand, you can rate them and confirm that they did a good job. If confirmed, Ask for Task will safely release the funds to them. Simple, easy, and effective!
When AskForTask.com started in 2012, Muneeb was developing the concept while studying at U of T. Since then, the headquarters has emerged from the basement of the Mushtaq family home to the heart of downtown Toronto’s financial district. AskForTask.com launched nationwide in June 2013 and is hailed as the only online platform helping Canadians complete daily tasks by connecting them online in a safe, secure, and organized environment. We caught up with Muneeb for a quick few words…
AskforTask is a great idea. What made you decide to turn it into a whole business?
AskforTask was born out of necessity. My brother Nabeel and I needed a plumber to fix a broken faucet; after searching incessantly through the phonebook and business listings, it was next to impossible to get an estimate for the job without having some one come to the house — let alone know if the person was trustworthy. The idea for Ask for Task was created at this moment.
What are the biggest rewards and greatest challenges about what you do?
The biggest reward I get from Ask for Task is being able to provide people who are without (or between) jobs a source of income. In this economy, it is so hard to find full-time work — we are very happy to be able to help our community. Our greatest challenge is keeping up with our always-growing user base, particularly in terms of community relations. We have a great team here at Ask for Task who reach out to “Askers” and “Taskers” all day, everyday, but this becomes increasingly difficult as the community grows larger.
What advice can you give to entrepreneurs wanting to launch a business in Toronto?
The good news for entrepreneurs looking to start a company in Toronto is the city is getting extremely aggressive in terms of start-up activity. Essentially, this means there is a tonne of resources for mentorship, growth, and setting up infrastructure and investment. At the same time, it is still conservative in contrast to Silicon Valley. Seek out as many experienced mentors as possible in your circle/ network.
If you had to sell Ask for Task in three sentences or less, what would you say?
Ask for Task is a leading, Canadian marketplace for all your daily tasks and errands. Outsource the items on your to-do list today to local, trustworthy people in your area.
What are some of the weirdest tasks people have posted?
Most recently, a Tasker was paid to stand in line for the iPhone6 at the Eaton Centre for 4 days just so the Asker could be one of the first to get the phone. It was a crazy task and BNN, CTV, and Global picked up the story.
Word on the street is you’re quite a stylish gentleman. Who are your favourite designers right now?
A few top designers that I personally prefer are Hermès, Burberry, and Zara.
What have been some of the biggest obstacles you’ve run into as an entrepreneur over the years and how did you overcome them?
Starting up a marketplace is always challenging, as there is always a chicken and egg problem regarding the Askers and Taskers. Regarding business in general, one obstacle was sustaining enough resources to keep up with the growth that we have seen since the beginning. This is why we raised our angel and seed rounds. Other than that, on a day-to-day basis, some of the challenges include: keeping the team motivated, fitting in as many meetings as possible in a short span of time, and ensuring the long-term vision of company is intact.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My family, AskforTask, and my car.
What’s currently in your grooming bag?
Since I’m always on the go, I don’t tend to spend a lot of time on grooming. You would likely only find the basics: a brush, styling gel, and Burberry cologne.
What’s your favourite restaurant in Toronto?
Paramount Foods on Yonge Street.