Listia, A Used Goods Marketplace, Raises $9M To Attack Mobile

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Listia, the marketplace for used and free goods, has closed a $9 million Series A led by General Catalyst, with partner Neil Sequeira joining the startup’s board. As mobile growth takes off for the startup, the team will be using that financing to build out their iPhone and Android apps. It’s also looking to expand internationally, although that won’t happen until 2014 at the earliest.

The round brings the YC graduate to $11.17 million in funding, after it last raised a $1.75 venture round in 2011.

About one-third of buying and 20% of listing activity currently takes place on mobile, Listia co-founder and CEO Gee Chuang said. Although their iPhone app launched a solid two years ago with the Android version following in early 2012, mobile use is up 100% in the last three months.

“When we launched [the apps] they were these companion utilities,” Chuang said. “Our users, when they were away from the computer, used apps. In the last few months we’ve launched different updates to the apps to get them to be very standalone.”

In addition to the free goods that can be purchased on the peer-to-peer marketplace, Listia has been rounding itself out as a shopping destination with the launch of a rewards store earlier this year. Listia originally partnered with Best Buy to provide inventory for the rewards store, which lets users put credit they’ve earned through selling to others toward new electronics, and they have now added Amazon Gift Cards to the roster as well.

“We’d love for lots of not just niche but broad retailers to have their items available in reward stores to provide more value. Imagine there’s a store where you can trade in all your old stuff. That’s the vision we have,” Chuang said.

The vast majority of users are still buying on the peer-to-peer marketplace, Chuang noted, and that’s where the team is investing its main efforts. The rewards store is brand new stuff at brand new prices, and the better deals and discoveries are to be had on the used goods side.

“We’re creating a trade-in program for everything in your home,” he said. “iPhone trade-in programs are really hot right now, but for us it’s like, ‘What about everything else?’”

As far as international expansion goes, Listia hasn’t made any moves yet and Chuang estimated that the timeframe would be next year sometime. Canada and the UK could be early targets, since Listia is seeing early activity there.

Because Listia users trade in credits, the marketplace already has an international currency that transcends local dollar amounts, Chuang said. Listia also enabled the exchange of digital goods like game and gift card codes recently, meaning not all foreign sellers would have to pay for shipping. Digital goods could further extend to CAD files as 3D printing becomes more commonplace, Chuang said.