TaskUs co-founders Bryce Maddock (left) and Jaspar Weir
For Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, the journey to the Nasdaq began in highschool in southern California, continued by means of an leisure enterprise for high-school youngsters and a failed yogurt enterprise in Argentina, and eventually ended up in a Texas city finest recognized for its historic waterpark.
Now of their mid-30s, Maddock and Weir are every price about $400 million and oversee a enterprise with 27,500 workers worldwide. Thirteen years after they plowed their life financial savings right into a enterprise known as TaskUs, the company held its stock market debut on Friday and is valued at about $2.8 billion. The inventory, buying and selling underneath ticker image “TASK,” jumped 26% to $29.
TaskUs supplies buyer help providers to fast-growing tech corporations together with Uber, Netflix, Coinbase and Zoom. Employees are unfold throughout eight nations, and TaskUs dedicates tons of and even 1000’s of staffers to its high purchasers so it could deal with all their support-related points. Revenue climbed 33% final yr to $478 million, and TaskUs is worthwhile — a rarity amongst newly public tech corporations — exhibiting annual web revenue of $34.5 million final yr.
Maddock, the CEO, stated TaskUs is mostly serving corporations that “realize their growth is going to be so aggressive that they can no longer do it all themselves.”
For occasion, Zoom known as in early 2020, when the video chat company’s pandemic-fueled development spurred a thirtyfold soar in help requests, based on the net roadshow forward of the IPO. TaskUs quickly had 700 workers working on the account.
Clients similar to Zoom are the rationale Maddock and Weir, the company’s president, had been headed to the Nasdaq on Friday to ring the closing bell. But the trajectory wasn’t all the time up and to the suitable.
Maddock and Weir turned finest buddies 20 years in the past whereas attending Santa Monica High School, a couple of blocks from one in every of California’s most well-known seashores. Weir stayed close by for faculty at the University of Southern California, whereas Maddock went throughout nation to New York University.
Still, they put their heads and pocketbooks collectively and fashioned their first enterprise, an leisure company that rented out venues round Los Angeles and hosted alcohol-free events for highschool youngsters.
“We grew up in Los Angeles, and one thing we realized was that in the summer, kids in high school don’t have much to do,” Maddock stated, in an interview. They known as the enterprise Club Access and ran it from 2005 to 2007, attracting 800 to 1,000 youngsters on the common Monday night time.
After school, they determined to give Buenos Aires a shot. Weir had studied overseas in Argentina and needed to start out a enterprise there. He and Maddock settled on beginning a frozen yogurt store. They flew down collectively and met traders in addition to chemists who may combine the flavors. However, they rapidly realized that opening up a small enterprise in Argentina and incomes pesos was no solution to construct wealth, and so they deserted the concept earlier than it obtained off the bottom.
They moved again in with their mother and father and invested the $20,000 they’d saved up from the occasions enterprise into their subsequent enterprise: a task-based digital assistant. They selected to start out within the Philippines, one of many high nations on the planet for name facilities and outsourcing.
“We used our combined life savings to rent a one-room office on the side of a highway an hour south of Manila and hire our first few employees,” they wrote within the founders’ letter portion of the prospectus.
In their preliminary conversations with start-ups, Maddock and Weir stated they rapidly realized that busy executives did not need task-based assist, however slightly wanted extra thorough help providers to help them as they grew. TaskUs broadened its focus to cowl extra enterprise processes, and the founders obtained some venture-backed start-ups on board.
“As we earned their trust, we took on more critical parts of their operations such as advanced technical support and critical content review,” they wrote.
By 2012, TaskUs was established sufficient to hit the radar of Uber, which was nonetheless early in its improvement though increasing quickly and elevating massive enterprise rounds. Maddock stated the message from Uber at the preliminary assembly in San Francisco was that the ride-hailing company would by no means outsource its providers. That modified utterly the next yr.
“They called us back and said that outsourcing sounds like a good idea now,” Maddock stated.
TaskUs began working with Uber in 2013, reviewing and onboarding drivers, based on the prospectus. In 2014, it started serving to on rider and driver help. A yr later, TaskUs had greater than 2,000 individuals devoted to Uber.
Similarly, TaskUs started working with Coinbase as demand began surging. That was in 2017, when “bitcoin became a mainstream obsession, and support volumes spiked through the roof,” the submitting says. Over time, TaskUs began dealing with fraud, compliance and buyer security wants for Coinbase.
The Philippines continues to be the company’s largest hub, with greater than 19,000, or 70%, of its workers situated there. The U.S. is its second-biggest nation, with over 4,000 workers, adopted by India and Mexico.
TaskUs was initially headquartered in Santa Monica however began transferring to Texas in 2016 with the opening of a San Antonio workplace, then to close by New Braunfels, which turned its present headquarters. New Braunfels is dwelling to the Schlitterbahn, a 42-year-old water park that covers over 70 acres and is without doubt one of the 80,000-person city’s largest employers.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in New Braunfels, Texas.
Erich Schlegel | Getty Images
Maddock and Weir each stay in Austin, about 50 miles north of New Braunfels. Prior to the pandemic, they stated, they spent about 75% of their time touring to their varied workplaces, together with six to eight journeys a yr to the Philippines.
They’re anxious to get again on the highway and into the air, although as the important thing individuals for a publicly traded company, they’ve insurance coverage insurance policies that “forbid us from traveling on the same plane,” Maddock stated.
In addition to Maddock and Weir, the TaskUs IPO is a giant windfall for Blackstone Group, which invested about $250 million in 2018 and finally managed about two-thirds of the company. Including shares offered within the IPO, that stake is now price about $1.7 billion.
Maddock and Weir had been every in a position to keep substantial possession — 16% at the time of the IPO — as a result of they’d solely taken $15 million in outdoors funding previous to the Blackstone deal.
“We bootstrapped the business for seven years, living on a shoestring budget with our parents,” Weir stated, in an interview. “Fortunately our parents didn’t charge us rent.”
Unlike the standard venture-backed tech company, TaskUs did not problem conventional inventory choices to its workers, as a result of it was initially structured as a restricted legal responsibility company. Rather, it created a “phantom stock plan” in 2015 and doled out grants that will recognize in worth because the company reached milestones and liquidity occasions.
Maddock stated that following the Blackstone transaction in 2018, the company paid out $44 million to over 200 workers who owned phantom inventory. After the IPO, he stated a complete of over $120 million shall be paid to greater than 400 workers.
“We have teammates and leaders in the Philippines who will make hundreds of thousands and, in some cases, over $1 million,” Maddock stated.