TaskUs co-founders Bryce Maddock (left) and Jaspar Weir
For Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, the journey to the Nasdaq started in high school in southern California, continued by means of an leisure venture for high-school youngsters and a failed yogurt enterprise in Argentina, and lastly ended up in a Texas city greatest identified for its historic waterpark.
Now in their mid-30s, Maddock and Weir are every value about $400 million and oversee a enterprise with 27,500 workers worldwide. Thirteen years after they plowed their life financial savings into a venture referred to as TaskUs, the corporate held its inventory market debut on Friday, and is valued at about $2.8 billion. The inventory, buying and selling beneath ticker image “TASK,” jumped 26% to $29.
TaskUs offers buyer assist providers to fast-growing tech corporations together with Uber, Netflix, Coinbase and Zoom. Employees are unfold throughout eight international locations, and TaskUs dedicates tons of and even 1000’s of staffers to its high shoppers 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, says TaskUs is mostly serving corporations that “realize their growth is going to be so aggressive that they they can longer do it all themselves.”
For occasion, Zoom referred to as in early 2020, when the video chat firm’s pandemic-fueled development spurred a 30-fold soar in assist requests, in accordance to the web roadshow. TaskUs quickly had 700 workers engaged on the account.
Clients like Zoom are the explanation Maddock and Weir, the corporate’s president, have been headed to the Nasdaq on Friday to ring the closing bell. But the trajectory wasn’t all the time up and to the correct.
Maddock and Weir grew to become greatest pals 20 years in the past whereas attending Santa Monica High School, a few blocks from one among California’s most well-known seashores. Weir stayed close by for faculty on 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 parties for high school 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 referred to as it Club Access and ran the enterprise from 2005 to 2007, attracting 800 to 1,000 youngsters on the common Monday evening.
After school, they determined to give Buenos Aires a shot. Weir had studied overseas in Argentina and needed to begin 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 shortly discovered that opening up a small enterprise in Argentina and incomes pesos was no means to construct wealth, and they deserted the concept earlier than it received off the bottom.
They moved again in with their dad and mom and invested the $20,000 they’d saved up from the occasions enterprise into their subsequent venture: a task-based digital assistant. They selected to begin in the Philippines, one of many high international locations in the world 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 in the founders’ letter portion of the prospectus.
In their preliminary conversations with start-ups, Maddock and Weir stated they shortly discovered that busy executives did not need task-based assist, however somewhat wanted extra thorough assist providers to help them as they grew. TaskUs broadened its focus to cowl extra enterprise processes, and the founders received 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 giant venture rounds. Maddock stated the message from Uber on the preliminary assembly in San Francisco was that the ride-hailing firm would by no means outsource its providers. That modified fully the next yr.
“They called us back and said that outsourcing sounds like a good idea now,” Maddock stated.
TaskUs started working with Uber in 2013, reviewing and onboarding drivers, in accordance to the prospectus. In 2014, it started serving to on rider and driver assist. A yr later, TaskUs had greater than 2,000 folks devoted to Uber.
Similarly, TaskUs started working with Coinbase as demand started surging. That was in 2017, when “bitcoin became a mainstream obsession, and support volumes spiked through the roof,” the submitting says. Over time, TaskUs started dealing with fraud, compliance and buyer security wants for Coinbase.
The Philippines remains to be the corporate’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 started transferring to Texas in 2016 with the opening of a San Antonio workplace, then to close by New Braunfels, which grew to become its present headquarters. New Braunfels is residence to the Schlitterbahn, a 42-year-old water park that covers over 70 acres and is among 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 places of work, 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 firm, 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 huge windfall for Blackstone Group, which invested about $250 million in 2018 and ultimately managed about two-thirds of the corporate. Including shares bought in the IPO, that stake is now value about $1.7 billion.
Maddock and Weir have been every in a position to preserve substantial possession — 16% on the time of the IPO — as a result of they’d solely taken $15 million in outdoors funding prior 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 firm, TaskUs did not situation conventional inventory choices to its workers, as a result of it was initially structured as a restricted legal responsibility firm. Rather, it created a “phantom stock plan” in 2015 and doled out grants that might respect in worth as the corporate reached milestones and liquidity occasions.
Maddock stated that following the Blackstone transaction in 2018, the corporate paid out $44 million to over 200 workers, who owned phantom inventory. After the IPO, he stated a whole of over $120 million will receives a commission 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.