Zaarly was little more than an idea when it won a LA Startup Weekend competition three weeks ago. But there’s been so much buzz about the startup that they’ve now gathered thousands of beta requests. And they’ve closed a $1 million funding round from top tier investors.
Not bad for a startup that’s still fiddling around with an internal prototype. Why all the excitement?
Because people want stuff and they want it right now.
Zaarly is a mobile-centric reverse craigslist service. If you want someone to bring you a starbucks coffee, you ask for it via the app along with how much you’re willing to pay and people will offer to bring it to you. Maybe one person is already at a local starbucks and notes that in his response – that may be the guy for you.
Or maybe you want someone to bring you a beer when you’re at the baseball game. Or you’re looking for a ride to the airport. Or you want to borrow someone’s iPhone charger and you’re willing to pay for the convenience of it.
Zaarly has some nice bells and whistles. It uses the location feature of your phone to determine proximity of other users. You can talk to the person you’ve accepted via an anonymous phone number (Twilio powers the service). Later you’ll be able to anonymously text back and forth, too. Soon both sides of a transaction will be able to rate the other person.
Cofounder Bo Fishback says he came up with the idea on an airplane. At 6’8, he says, he has trouble in most economy class seats. When he flies he often asks people in the exit row if they’ll take $50 to change seats. “100% of the time, he says, the person says yes, or just changes without the payment.”
Zaarly is a better way to do things like that, he says.
Look for it to launch at SXSW in a few days (we’ll let you know). Until then, sign up for early notification on their site.
Will Zaarly work? If there’s adequate density of users that the network effect kicks in, yes. That’s why launching at a big event like SXSW makes sense to get early adopter types using the app. Fishback imagines cities will eventually have lots of open jobs at any time. “You’ll open Zaarly and see $3 million in jobs around you to be claimed,” he says, hoping that people may find it useful to do 10 or more jobs in a day to pick up extra cash.
That all sounds just great to me. Now someone bring me a beer asap.