​Airtasker sets international sights in AU$6.5 million capital injection

Australian internet startup Airtasker is setting its sights on an international expansion after raising AU$6.5 million in capital led by China's Morning Crest Capital.

Australian online jobs outsourcing marketplace startup Airtasker is setting its sights on an international expansion and engineering boost after raising up to AU$6.5 million.

The capital raising effort was led by Shanghai-based Morning Crest Capital, the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA), Australian VC funds Exto Partners, Carthona Capital, and Black Sheep Capital.

The company will use the funds to ramp up its product development and bulk up its engineering capacity, customer support, and services as it works towards developing a number of large-scale projects that will be revealed later this year.

"The new services we are planning will be revolutionary for the local services economy," said Airtasker CEO and co-founder Tim Fung.

The funding boost is also expected to help the company investigate the potential of other international marketplaces beyond Australia and the United States, with Asia set to feature high on the list of potential target regions, following the injection of funds from the Chinese venture capital firm.

"Morning Crest Capital's expertise and advice will allow us to investigate a broader Asia strategy with Airtasker's growth," said Fung.

This latest funding injection for Airtasker represents Morning Crest Capital's first investment in the Australian startup technology market.

"Labour market o2o [online to offline] platforms are achieving great success in China, and we believe Airtasker will be able to do the same in Australia," said Morning Crest Capital CEO Fred Bai. "We would also like to support Airtasker's expansion into the greater China region when the time is right."

Meanwhile, Blacksheep Capital director Daniel Gavel said the Brisbane-based investment capital provider participated in the capital raising in order to target the growing collaborative consumption sector.

"We were attracted to Airtasker due to the growth potential of their services platform across market sectors, as well as growth geographically," said Gavel. "The concept of providing a flexible platform built around a trusted community in order to get those odd jobs completed at a market-driven price is one we were prepared to get behind."

In late 2013, Airtasker closed a AU$2 million funding round with the Kahlbetzer family-backed BridgeLane Capital, Sydney-based Exto Partners, and a range of private equity investors. It followed BridgeLane's initial funding injection into the company, worth AU$1.5 million.

The company's latest funding effort comes as fellow Australian internet startup Canva raises $6 million (AU$7.67 million) in additional funding led by Silicon Valley's Matrix Partners and Shasta Ventures, along with local VC players Blackbird Ventures and AirTree Ventures.

The additional investment will be used to bulk up the company's Sydney-based engineering team in order to build a new product, Canva for Work, and will also be funnelled into marketing and promoting the new offering.