Content moderator startup TaskUs has raised $250 million from Blackstone Group LP in a deal that values the company at more than $500 million. The funding is a significant move for TaskUs, which had previously raised only $15 million from Navegar, a private equity firm based in the Philippines
TaskUs is a business process outsourcing service that moderates content, annotates information and handles back office customer support for some of the world’s largest tech companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., Tinder, HotelTonight, Wish and Gusto. Among their tasks, TaskUs workers answer emails and phone calls when someone’s lunch is mis-delivered, and they scan the photos and messages users upload to social networks to filter out unwanted content.
About 60 percent of their business is customer service—a third of which is on the phone, while the rest is over email or chat—and the other 40 percent is image tagging or content moderation, where TaskUs workers don’t interact with the customer.
The Santa Monica-based company, which began as a browser-based virtual assistant company — “You send us a task and we get the task done,”was founded ten years ago with a $20,000 investment from its two co-founders.
“What I can tell you is we do content moderation for almost every major social network and it’s the fastest growing part of our business today,” chief executive Bryce Maddock
While the back office business processing services remain the majority of the company’s revenue, Maddock knows that the future belongs to an increasing automation of the company’s core services. That’s why part of the money is going to be invested in a new technology integration and consulting business that advises tech companies on which new automation tools to deploy, along with shoring up the company’s position as perhaps the best employer to work for in the world of content moderation and algorithm training services.