How does Airtasker (ASX:ART) stack up against its peers?

Now that Airtasker Limited (ASX: ART) has completed its successful listing, it might be worthwhile comparing it against its ASX peers.

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Participants of the Airtasker Limited (ASX: ART) initial public offering (IPO) would have been rubbing their hands together on today's successful listing. By the end of its debut trading session, the online marketplace for local services finished at $1.05. That puts the ASX-listed Airtasker share price 61.5% higher than the IPO price of 65 cents.

There's no doubt plenty of excitement surrounding the company. The five times oversubscribed IPO is clear evidence of that. Even Airtasker's own select group of 'taskers' and staff subscribed for more than 10 times more shares than originally anticipated.

With all the excitement it's easy to forget that Airtasker still has competitors. So, how do they stack up against each other?

ASX-listed Airtasker competitors

Unsurprisingly, in the world of digital innovation, the old employment model is giving way to something more flexible and nimble. There is a proliferation of people working for themselves, using online platforms to offer their services anytime, anywhere, for anything.

Airtasker is now publicly listed among other such ASX shares as Hipages Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: HPG) and Freelancer Ltd (ASX: FLN). At face value, these companies are very similar. All three provide a website and/or mobile app to find people in your area capable of completing tasks you may require.

Both Airtasker and Freelancer offer an extensive range of services. This includes everything from computer programming to mowing your lawn. However, Hipages differs by being focused on trade-based services – think home renos and air conditioning installation.

Another point of difference between these companies is their service base. For instance, Hipages relies on mostly physical labour, so its operations are predominantly carried out within Australia. The same is somewhat true for Airtasker, while Freelancer operates extensively outside of Australia, due to its services being highly focused on remote digital work.

Money matters, and so do visits

When looking at online businesses, it can sometimes be handy to compare website traffic between peers. Referring to SimilarWeb, it can be seen that in the last month Freelancer has commanded 8.1 million visits, while Airtasker and Hipages were both around 1.3 million. However, this doesn't quite paint the entire picture considering the ASX's fresh face, Airtasker, is commonly used through an app.

A more useful comparison is the businesses' finances. However, Freelancer reports on a different timeline to Hipages and Airtasker, so some calculations were needed to get it on comparative terms. With that being said, for the half-year ended December, revenue and earnings for each company are as follows:

  • Airtasker: $12.61 million revenue; $2.06 million loss
  • Hipages: $26.9 million revenue; $1.5 million profit
  • Freelancer: $29.3 million revenue; $493,000 loss

In revenue terms, Airtasker is certainly the smallest by a substantial margin.

Lastly, knowing the company's revenue and earnings, it's worthwhile comparing market capitalisation between these three ASX shares. These are as follows:

  • Airtasker: $441.6 million
  • Hipages: $266.5 million
  • Freelancer: $253.03 million

Foolish takeaway

Based on a simple price to sales (PS) ratio Airtasker looks expensive, trading on a PS multiple of 35. Whereas Hipages and Freelancer are trading at 10 times and 9 times respectively. Potentially investors are pricing in higher growth for the newly listed company.

Whether the listed competitors will surge to meet Airtasker's rich valuation or Airtasker's ASX parade will be rained on, remains to be seen.

Mitchell Lawler has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. recommends Hipages Group Holdings Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Freelancer Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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