UW has a new startup at its disposal created by former UW students, for current students. </p>
DashTask is an application that allows students who are short on time to post tasks they need done and how much they’re willing to pay for it. Students who are short on cash can then go online and pick a task they’re willing to do for pay. It’s an online marketplace — tasks can involve grocery shopping or even cleaning up after a party.
Marc Lafleur, a health studies graduate, co-founded DashTask with Andreas Ricci, a computer science major from UW.
“I was put in contact with Andreas Ricci, who is really revered in the computer science world, and I like to work with that, I like to have that high standard idea. I messaged him, told him about the idea, he liked it, and we partnered together,” explained Lafleur.
The two have been working on it ever since, with Lafleur managing the business side of it and Ricci the tech.
“Some students struggle a lot financially, and that was me when I was in first and second year. I had no money, had no job, and OSAP wasn’t really coming through for me. In third and fourth year, I was working four jobs, I was playing football here, and I didn’t have time to do things. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to outsource my stuff, and on the other side of it to help some who needed someone cash,” explained Lafleur.
The DashTask co-founders are trying to bring “the sharing economy to campus, our community’s ability to share resources amongst each other for mutual benefit.”
Lafleur is currently managing a company in London, but is working part-time on the startup. DashTask launched last month and is currently undergoing beta-testing based out of UW.
“The results have been great, to be honest — we’ve seen a lot of tasks posted and all of them have been completed. One of the things we’re actually realizing is that as soon as a task gets posted, people are messaging within five minutes to take that task, so right now we’re trying to work on having a steady supply of tasks to offer, so that if students are looking for cash quickly, they’ll be able to find it,” said Lafleur.
The co-founders are currently doing a lot of market research, and have booth days on campus consistently. They are looking to find what students want, and if there’s anything they can add to the program to make it easier for students. Lafleur commented, “At the end of the day, we just want to make it easier for life on campus.” He also went on to explain that they hoped this would be able to help international students on campus, many of whom are not able to get part-time jobs due to visa complications. They’ve had some success in that aspect and flew out to Texas Oct. 18 to speak with a seed-funding venture capitalist.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Lefleur, “we have a lot of investors contacting us, we have some connections from the tech world from previous work, and we have a lot of people reaching out to us.”
Lafleur explained that “there are other companies that are currently doing this, but no one is targeting students, and once students get on board with it, it could really become part of student life.”