Listia, which launched just two months ago, is one of those startups that has grabbed my attention. And apparently investors like it, too. The company as raised a $400,000 angel round of financing from Implistic Capital. Partner Adam Pearsall has joined the Listia board of directors.
Listia provides a better way for people to give stuff away. People often list free things on Craigslist or donate it to Goodwill, charities or churches. But Craigslist isn’t a perfect solution, since you will get a mass of emails and need to deal with everyone. And often the winner doesn’t show up. And most charities and churches aren’t really interested in getting actual stuff that they then need to sell for cash. They’d rather just get the cash.
Listia makes it all a lot better. Users don’t bid cash for items, rather they bid points that they get for free for signing up, listing items and referring friends. That means the winner is the person who wanted the item the most and was willing to bid the most points. The lister doesn’t have to deal with a lot of emails, and the no-show risk is minimized.
And if a user really wants an item but doesn’t have enough points, they can buy more. That’s where the business model comes in, and the value to charities. Points can be purchased at a rate of $5 for 50 points. And if a lister decides to donate the proceeds to charity, the charity gets 100% of any paid for points used by the winner.
We’ve been using Listia to give away some of the unwanted stuff in the office. And we’ve also used it for marketing, by giving away free TechCrunch tshirts regularly. Here’s an auction going on right now, or you can use the widget below:
listia_username = ‘techcrunch’;
listia_num_rows = 3;
listia_border_color = ’888888′;
listia_background_color = ‘ffffff’;
listia_font_color = ’00aeef’;
listia_width = ’250′;
Listia has also just rolled out Sponsored Listings (example), where companies and organizations can manage free giveaways for promotion or charity. The listing has a link back to the company’s website. For now it’s free, eventually Listia will charge for this.