Most seniors are focused on finding a job, but four students are spending their last few months at Vanderbilt making jobs instead. This year, seniors Justin Riele, Mitch Masia, William Doran and Connor Smith chose to dedicate their last few months as college students to a new startup app called Taskloop.
CEO Justin Riele, until now known mostly as the president of a cappella group The Melodores, describes Taskloop as “your campus task feed.” Example task feeds include big names such as Craigslist, TaskRabbit or even the old classified sections in the back part of newspapers. However, Taskloop sets itself apart by specifically targeting college students, following the path that smash-hit smartphone apps like YikYak have so successfully paved for others. Riele says that Taskloop is a way “for college students to outsource anything they need completed.”
How it works
Using Taskloop is fairly easy: post a task, set a price and any other student can proceed to complete the task. Taskloop users fall into two groups: those who post the tasks (posters) and those who complete the tasks (taskers). The benefits between the two groups are intended to be mutual. Posters can save valuable time by submitting tasks that cover anything from last-minute grocery shopping to important package pick-ups, spanning a whole laundry list of possible errands. Meanwhile, taskers can make quick and easy money in a customizable way that suits their own personal time and terms.
“[Taskloop] meets this need that I feel exists on campus,” Riele explained. “There’s this demand for ‘Oh, I wish I had a part-time job’ or ‘Oh, I wish I could make money really easily in five minutes.’ Taskloop is the end product.”
Marketed only to college students, Taskloop has the opportunity to ensure heightened security by restricting access exclusively to those enrolled in undergraduate school. Users of the mobile app must verify their association to the community by registering with a .edu email address, linking them to their university.
Payment works easily through a program similar to PayPal. Taskloop outsources the payment process through a third-party network called WePay. This promises complete and secure financial protection when using the app, as Taskloop itself — and especially its users — are barred from access to credit card and bank information.
How it all started
The team first conceived of Taskloop almost exactly a year ago in March 2015. The concept and was inspired after Riele took Vanderbilt’s own Entrepreneurial Challenge course (MGRL 3300) with David Furse, a class in which students create a full business plan and learn to compete for investors.
Riele says that Taskloop is part of the grand movement towards the sharing economy. The idea and inspiration for Taskloop is founded from the positive response towards collaborative consumption services such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.
The team at Taskloop has taken advantage of many resources around town, most prominently the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, a business hub that extends mentorship connections to budding entrepreneurs. The team at Taskloop has held over 20 mentor meetings since August 2015, with experienced advisors in specialties from accounting to legal to marketing and more.
Taskloop is also looking forward to working with the Vanderbilt Innovation Center, an entrepreneurial tech hub planning to provide “programming, seminars and workshops … to help students … at any stage of development,” according to its website. This center is brand new to campus and will open on April 1. It will be located in the newly constructed engineering building, near the Student Life Center on 25th Avenue.
Taskloop has already raised $12,000 in funding and are seeking angel investors for the future. As for the rest of the app’s future, Riele says that the team is keeping an open mind about possible developments and are trying not to force too many expectations on the app. “Maybe the market will surprise us, and Taskloop will turn into a serenade request service,” he said. “We have no idea. We don’t want to impose certain assumptions on the market.”
Taskloop will officially launch on two campuses — Vanderbilt University and Whitman College — in the next couple weeks, although Riele did not disclose an exact date. The app will be available to download on iTunes and Google Play.