RunMyErrand Picks Up $1 Million from West Coast Venture Firms

10/30/09Follow @wroush

RunMyErrand, the Boston-based online clearinghouse where busy people can recruit temporary helpers to complete tasks around town, doesn’t have a branch in the San Francisco Bay Area (yet). But if it did, founder and CEO Leah Busque might be using it to pick up checks from Baseline Ventures and Maples Investments this week.

Baseline, in San Francisco, and Maples, in Menlo Park, CA, are the two investors in RunMyErrand’s $1 million Series A round, announced today. Both firms focus on seed-stage investments, and both have prominent Web 2.0 and social networking startups such as Twitter and Digg in their portfolios. “We’re really excited to be working with them, just because of their experience in the business and the resources they bring,” Busque tells Xconomy.

The new funds will help RunMyErrand build its staff—up to now, Busque herself has been the only full-time employee—and expand operations to San Francisco. Busque says the company’s model has proved itself well enough in Boston, where many new users sign up and post and run errands every day, that it’s time to scale it up and try it in a second city.

“It goes beyond errands,” Busque says. “It’s about building a community of people willing to help each other out.” One recent posting, for example, came from a woman who was stuck attending a wedding in Providence when her elderly mother’s Beacon Hill home was burgled. “Some jewelry was stolen and she need to file a police report,” Busque says. “So this woman went online from Providence and posted that she needed a runner to go over to help her mother, and they got the report filled out that night.”

So how did a one-employee startup working out of office space donated by Cambridge, MA-based Zipcar get connected with two West Coast micro-investors? Busque says it was a byproduct of her time in Palo Alto last summer, participating in Facebook’s “fbFund” incubator program.

RunMyErrand was one of 25 companies chosen for the exlcusive program (Busque wrote about some of her fbFund experiences for Xconomy back in July.) While she was in the Bay Area, Busque says, she approached entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, of Four Hour Work Week fame, about being an advisor to her startup. Ferriss not only liked RunMyErrand and agreed to advise Busque, but connected her with Maples managing partner Mike Maples and Baseline founder Steve Anderson.

A million-dollar Series A round isn’t huge in the tech financing world, but Busque thinks it will be enough to show that the company can gain a critical mass of users in Boston and San Francisco before it raises more money and expands to more cities. “We are a service networking company, and with those types of companies you can really go lean and agile and take it pretty far,” she says. “A year ago I was working out of my house. I plan to remain in that very bootstrapped, agile mode.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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