Microtask, a Finnish startup, closed a round of seed financing in August 2010, lead by Danish Sunstone Capital followed by a group of Angel investors. The size of the round is undisclosed, but the company told Arctic Startup that they should be able to get to summer 2011 with it. The round is their second seed round and it’s structured so that Sunstone has also committed to lead the A round next spring. Nikolaj Nyholm of Sunstone will be joining their board. Nyholm belongs to the group of investors who have been on startup side of the table more than once and understands young startups better than most.
Microtask focuses on creating technologies that turn digital labor into a standardized commodity. They could for example work on digitalization and annotation of archives, verification of forms and user-generated content, speech transcription and validation of results of computer analysis. Anything that’s menial, repetitive and boring. It’s a SaaS model that enables more efficient working that is paid for the results, not by the hour. Microtask breaks the more mundane tasks into tasks for the social web to take care of and then channels those back to their own customers. Demand media uses similar logic with content creation, and their process is perfected to the point of art. In Microtask’s case think of it as instead of outsourcing the work to China, you’d outsource it to Farmville.
Microtask is a 2009 founded startup, which has currently 10 employees and offices in Tampere (FI), Helsinki (FI) and San Francisco (US). It’s owned by its founders Ville Miettinen, Harri Holopainen (CEO), Panu Wilska and Otto Chrons, Finnish Vigo accelerators Lots, Sunstone Capital and a group of private Angel investors.
The company is still pre-revenue, but it’s optimistic about the prospects and hopes to see the first revenues during the fall 2010. If they are ready to take on the market so are their competitors. CrowdFlower, CloudCrowd, HumanGrid each have closed roughly a € 3 million Series A. The market is clearly getting created fast and can develop into a very lucrative one once the models evolve into working processes and the clients and channel partners get familiar with the model.
Text: Arctic Startup