With Zaarly, Everything is For Sale
Zaarly is a mobile-focused marketplace that provides plugged-in, on-the-go individuals the opportunity to buy and sell items via their smartphones.
It’s been described as an alternative to Craigslist, a crowd-sourced Kozmo.com, a mobile-focused eBay. But really, Zaarly is simply a marketplace for your phone, tablet or computer that lets you connect with people who are selling the services you are looking for, or who are looking for the services you provide. Everything from finding a professional chef to prepare a home-cooked meal to connecting with someone looking to buy your old smartphone to meeting a mom with an gently used stroller — as well as some great advice — can be found on the site.
Bo Fishback, founder and CEO of Zaarly, talks about where he got the idea for his company, and where he plans to take it.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The original concept came from a very basic need to make offers to people around me for things they already had. I think the seed for the idea was actually planted by my wife when we were sitting in an airport and I wanted to pay another passenger to switch seats with me.
My cofounder and I spent a weekend at Startup Weekend in Los Angeles working on it after I originally pitched the idea of a "local version of eBay".
Where did the first funding come from?
Our original seed funding came from a group of well-known angel investors. We raised $1 million from Ashton Kutcher, Felicis Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Bill Lee, Lightbank, SV Angel, Paul Buchheit, Michael Arrington, and Thrive Capital.
Last October we raised an additional $14.1 million from Kleiner Perkins, Sands Capital, Venture51, CrunchFund, and Artists & Instigators.
Who was your first customer?
We had thousands of people sign up the first day we launched. I guess I'd say that we were our own first customers because we started using Zaarly internally well before we ever had a fully baked product and we knew almost immediately that other people would dig it.
When did you know the company would be a success?
Ha. I think we've still got quite a bit of work to do before we'll know if we're going to be successful. We've got some huge goals, but we still have a long way to go.
We hope to just keep improving our platform and the Zaarly experience in an effort to make it easier and easier for anyone to opt into the new job market that is being born on top of our platform.