Android users, say hello to Zaarly. For those not yet familiar with the peer-to-peer mobile startup, they’ve had a whirlwind year thus far. Built at hackathons and startup weekends over the first few months of this year, Zaarly took first prize at LA Startup Weekend in March, and soon thereafter raised a $1 million seed round from an impressive list of investors — Ashton Kutcher, Paul Buchheit, Lightbank, and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington (see below), among them. In May, Zaarly launched nationwide and, in less than a month, crossed $1 million in posted transactions.
Occupying a similar space as TaskRabbit and Gigwalk, the web and mobile service seeks to connect buyers and sellers in a localized market place, reverse Craigslist-style, by allowing users to post what they’re looking for (beer, a massage, or an iPad), how much they’re willing to pay for said good or service, and how soon they need it. The startup then posts the request in the local community forum and allows users to share the request via Twitter and Facebook.
Sellers can then bid for the tasks users post, and buyers can then choose their preferred merchant or seller, with Zaarly facilitating the connection by way of an anonymous Twilio phone number. The service offers an integrated credit card payment system, which users can take advantage of — or pay cash.
The biggest selling point for Zaarly as a service has been the fact that it’s mobile-centric, offering a terrific mobile experience through free iOS and Facebook apps. A few weeks ago, in fact, Zaarly rolled out a few new features and was featured by Apple on iTunes.
For the last few months, the startup has been developing an Android app to further expand its mobile experience, and, today, the app has gone live in the Android Marketplace. Check it out. Zaarly for Android offers a similar experience to that which its iOS users will be familiar with: Wedding singers will build custom tree houses, houses cleaned, websites designed, and the opportunities to ride in beautiful sports cars will present themselves.
The new, free Zaarly Android app will include signup from inside the app, an “Activity Tab” that tracks past, pending, and completed offers, and all Web and Android activity is synced so that users can switch between the web app and the Android app without losing any content or info.
The new app also allows users to message each other anonymously within the app, or via SMS if the app happens to be closed — and it archives all your conversations, too, which is a nice bonus. Users can browse local listings with a “Compass button”, and just as Zaarly users can do on the web app, listings can be posted for up to a week. (And a note for Android users, Zaarly’s app incorporates standard Android buttons, for example, the “back arrow button” can help users quit or go back and the “options button” allows users to view their activity, post a Zaarly, etc.)
The Android app release follows an announcement from Zaarly and CEO Bo Fishback yesterday that Zaarly is planning to crowdsource the location of its next office. Zaarly has launched in cities like, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Omaha, and Des Moines, but the startup is now going to follow each city on a leaderboard on its website, and the city that has the “most robust Zaarly community over the next few months” will become the site of Zaarly’s regional headquarters.
Currently, over $1.6 million in dolla dolla billz has been posted on Zaarly, and one of the reasons that app has been able to attract so much activity so early on in the game, Fishback says, is that the service has resisted just becoming something where “people run errands for you”. The CEO says that the team has been seeing all kinds of surprising posts, although, perhaps unsurprisingly, he surmised that about 7 percent of Zaarlies involve an apple product of some kind. But, that being said, couches, bikes, and cars have all been put up for grabs as well, so the product offerings remains diverse. And sometimes weird.
Check out Zaarly on Android here.
Note: As noted above, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington has invested in Zaarly. You can read more about his investment policy here.