Who doesn’t like receiving free things from their friends? Fribi is an iPhone and Android app developed by a Norwegian startup to get rid of your unnecessary stuff that clutters your home. Conversely, you can browse the free stuff available in your area and arrange a meeting. Fribis can be restricted to people you know, which you can select from among your Facebook friends.
Creating a listing is much less cumbersome than it would be on eBay or Craigslist. You just have to take a picture and name the object. Moreover, there is a ratings system in order to dissuade you from giving away useless or broken stuff.
The app launched a few months ago in Norway and is now quite successful. Tens of thousands of users are swapping stuff in this 5 million-person country. “We store a lot of things away in our closets, garages and basements until they get so old and outdated that we end up throwing them in the garbage anyway,” said Morten Isachsen, CEO and co-founder of Fribi. “The Fribi service was initially made for our neighborhood in Oslo (Norway), but we decided to go for it, put our own resources into a project group and establish a new company,” he continued.
The toughest part will be to gain traction and grow usage numbers. The app currently feels a bit empty because it has just launched outside of Norway. The company believes they have two advantages over their competitors: the simplicity of the app and the network effect. In a free marketplace, you might be curious to see what your friends are giving away. Or you might not have known that a friend of yours is giving away that teapot that you have been looking for for weeks.
That teapot and all the stuff your friends are putting on Fribi is arranged in a feed for easy browsing. “Quite different from other classifieds players, Fribi focus on personal relations and will be a community-driven marketplace, making it more fun, social and safe for stuff to change hands,” Isachsen said.
Fribi is a spin-off of the digital agency Jimmy Royal. It was first developed in-house before they created a separate entity. It has received $100,000 from Innovation Norway and will raise money soon. In its demo video, Fribi hints at special offers in local shops as a way to monetize the service.