Sep 302009

Recently I met up with Leah Busque, internet entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Cambridge, MA based RUNmyERRAND (view recent appearance on Hubspot TV). Prior to our meeting, I was astounded that a math and science grad who had spent virtually her entire career (7 years) as an IBM engineer, had conceived of the on-demand errand service just a year and a half ago. You’d never know it by the traction and buzz RUNmyERRAND has already generated, albeit limited to the local Boston market (for now). After our 1 1/2 hours together, it was clear Leah is not your stereotypical engineer. Putting her passion, energy, resourcefulness, keen business instincts, and acquired marketing acumen to work, Leah has almost singlehandedly created a solid foundation for success. Aside from Leah’s impressive leadership qualities, here’s a short list of what RUNmyERRAND has in its corner:

  • Clear and Compelling Value Proposition. The demands for our time and expectations for results are greater than ever. Leah has done a fabulous job addressing the various target personas and messaging how the service works. The site’s branding, look-and-feel and ease-of-use were initially what caught my eye.
  • fbFUND Winner. RUNmyERRAND was the only east-coast fbFUND finalist. Being selected for such a prestigious program has afforded the company unique opportunities. Leah has had the privilege of tapping into Facebook wisdom and resources. Networking opportunities abound, it also means she stands a far better chance than most to raise additional funding when needed.
  • Zipcar Synergy. Fortune Magazine recently named Zipcar the best new idea in business, and Zipcar’s Scott Griffith is on RUNmyERRAND’s Advisory Board (along with Timothy Ferris, author of #1 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek). Like Zipcar, RUNmyERRAND promotes green living by reducing urban transportation (in this case by consolidating errands to fewer individuals). Hence, RUNmyERRAND has participated in Zipcar marketing campaigns, including the recent Low-Car Diet Challenge, for which the company gave away free “runner credits” to reduce the urge for participants to take back their cars. RUNmyERRAND will likely follow in Zipcar’s footsteps and only expand to other cities once its initial hyperlocal model (relying on demographics, supply/demand economics and other operational logistics) is optimized in Boston.

If the points above don’t have you convinced that RUNmyERRAND has great start towards a bright future, consider this. Though it’s an ambitious endeavor to say the least, think about how useful it would be to have an auction site like eBay, but focused on services instead of products. Or put another way, imagine an online exchange version of CraigsList.

What do you think? Are there other impressive startups meeting this need? Please share your thoughts…