Meet The Valley’s Newest Unicorn: Thumbtack

A new unicorn is born! The world rejoices.

The newest entrant in the startups valued at over $1 billion club is Thumbtack, a firm that manages marketing and job listings for independently contracting professionals (the electricians, carpenters and yoga instructors of the world).

At its last valuation, the firm’s worth clocked in at $750 million last year. The newest round comes care of the Scottish money management firm Baillie Gifford and nearly doubles up the funds that have flowed into Thumbtack. The new investment is late-stage financing; previously, the firm raised five other funding rounds.

“We’re at the stage where we need to think about having a permanent capital base,” said Marco Zappacosta, Thumbtack’s cofounder and chief executive, to The New York Times.

Baillie Gifford has a reputation for being a long-haul investor with a fondness for publicly traded firms.

“The venture investors do have to exit sometime, and we want to invite in additional, long-term stakeholders that can support the sort of big, independent business we want to build,” said Zappacosta.

The firm is attractive to investors, says Sequoia’s Bryan Schreier (Sequoia is a Thumbtack investor), not only because of how much business it has done but also how much potential it still has left to tap.

“[Thumbtack] is already delivering more than [$1 billion worth of business] to independent professionals, yet they’re still only scratching the surface of the $500 billion plus local services market."

According to the firm, the latest funding will go toward infrastructure, specifically to building invoice, payment, scheduling and customer management services for small business owners.

“We want to make customer retention tools for professionals and give them reason to keep Thumbtack in the loop as they find and retain customers,” said Zappacosta.

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