The next time you realize you forgot to schedule a dog sitter for your vacation, look no further than Zaarly.com for some last-minute help. This website connects you with potential hires, be it a baby sitter, personal assistant for the day or any other service you might require. Simply create an account, specify your location and the item or job you need done, decide how much you’re willing to pay, and voilà—your listing is broadcast to all Zaarly users in your area.
In uncertain economic times, the mobile marketplace is becoming an increasingly viable option for both individuals looking to hire for short-term gigs and job seekers hoping to make an extra few bucks. Gigwalk, a mobile app that uses GPS to show users available jobs nearby, is a more grassroots approach to Zaarly’s MO, but gigs rarely pay more than $5 and are mostly limited to collecting information about a restaurant or store. With Zaarly, users on both ends of the hiring stick have access to more-skilled labor and higher-priced day jobs.
The San Francisco-based Zaarly was recently named one of the “50 Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company, and the site has received $15.1 million in funding from backers including TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. With an office in Kansas City, Mo., it’s also ready to take on areas of the country often overlooked by Bay Area startups. That sort of support should help Zaarly distinguish itself from the slew of competitors, including Coffee & Power and TaskRabbit.
Funding: $15.1 million
Headquarters: San Francisco