Twilio, TaskRabbit hire first lobbyists

Twilio, TaskRabbit hire first lobbyists
© Greg Nash

A pair of private technology companies — TaskRabbit and Twilio — registered their first Washington lobbyists in the past week. 

Twilio hired Millennial Bridge Consulting, with founder Lauren Culbertson, to focus on messaging and net neutrality. 

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The company is aimed at app developers, and allows them to build voice and text messaging services into their apps, which run over the Internet. It counts Uber, Box, Coca Cola and Home Depot as clients. 

The company has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to rule that messaging services like itself are governed by strict common carrier regulations under Title II of the Communications Act. The commission put the petition out for public comment in October, which is opposed by the wireless industry.

“In its Petition, Twilio asserts that wireless providers engage in a variety of discriminatory and anti-competitive practices that cannot be adequately addressed absent a declaratory ruling classifying messaging services under Title II,” the FCC wrote in its public notice. 

TaskRabbit, which has been described as the Uber for everything, hired the firm Heather Podesta + Partners to lobbying on workforce, tax, privacy and trade issues. It hired the firm to focus on “issues that impact the company’s ability to compete both domestically and in foreign markets.” 

The company uses an app that lets people hire workers for odd jobs, like cleaning a home, delivering groceries or putting together furniture. It faces some of the same employment issues as other gig economy companies, like Uber and Lyft.

The two companies add to the boom in Internet lobbying in recent years, and the increasing trend of young tech companies jumping into the Washington advocacy scene early.