Oddswop: A digital update of the ubiquitous garage sale
The most published poet on the web, Tom Zart once said, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. While many still use the ubiquitous garage sale to get rid of their junk, this method has its disadvantages. Rather than relying on bargain hunters strolling past your house on a Saturday afternoon, startup Oddswop offers a more contemporary option.
Co-Founded by entrepreneurs Yvonne Lee and David Spalding, Oddswop breaks down the barriers of selling online – allowing Australians to sell their ‘no longer wanted’ belongings without having to fork out large fees.
Lee, who graduated from the Sydney Founder Institute in 2013, points out that third-party sellers like eBay charge a high commission on each sale (almost 10 percent) and gamifies the process buying. On the flipside, Gumtree offers an unpleasant looking interface. As such, Oddswop takes advantage of eBay and Gumtree’s shortcomings and presents a better option.
Not only do they have a more visually-appealing interface, they have a tiered pricing structure that’s significantly cheaper than the ecommerce Top Dogs.
Lee believes Oddswop’s most disruptive feature is ‘Communities’ – launching later this month – where groups of people can trade items amongst themselves. It could be apartment blocks, school communities, Model Train collectors, or people who are members of the Holden HSV club or some kind of company social club. Some will be run by specific communities or groups, while others will run as a themed site – for instance, ‘Sydney CD collectors’.
Also implemented into the site is a location-based feature which exposes visitors to items close to their current location. This means that each of the community’s listings can be aggregated on the main site allowing extra exposure on items which are closer to the buyer.
‘Communities’ will be a freemium-based product – allowing groups to sign up for free, and pay a monthly fee for add-on features such as custom domain names and advertising spots, among many more.
Some communities that have already signed up include a special interest group of game card traders, a Sydney apartment block, a mother’s community based in Orange County, and a UK newspaper site.
In the future, the Oddswop team be adding a ‘Swapping’ feature in efforts to embrace the collaborative consumption model.
The business has been entirely bootstrapped to date, with a spend of approximately $80,000 on product development. While they’re interested in raising funds later in the year, they feel it will distract them from what’s more important at this stage – the business and the product.
Lee says they’re currently using Grunt Fund to work out equity between the team, and will likely be approaching investor groups to scale the business in a few month’s time.
In regards to marketing, the Oddswop team are using Facebook advertising. However, the social media share functionality on the site has had a ripple effect, because each listing prompts users to share across their social networks.
Lee says quite modestly that their greatest achievements have been launching in public beta, and getting over 1700 Facebook likes.
The biggest challenge, like many other startups, has been self-funding the development. Lee says they have to work on other projects side-by-side to be able to afford the development and marketing.
“Like everyone we have limited resources and are stretched thin. It’s hard to get traction and it’s hard to explain our excitement about features and convey it to others. We’re hoping that proof is in the pudding!” says Lee.
“And marketing is expensive! It’s hard to throw hard earned money on something which may have little return.”
Their focus for this year is refining the product, acquiring customers, and generating buzz around their ‘Communities’ feature.