By now you probably know that Craigslist sucks as a way to sell stuff. You have to contend with spam emails, buyers who promise to purchase your goods but flake, and people who show up then try to haggle down the price after the fact. But somehow, no one has figured out a way to make it better or provide a real alternative.
Well, there’s a new app out called FOBO that aims to solve all those problems, providing users with a local marketplace for selling consumer electronics.
FOBO launches in San Francisco today, offering its users a new way to sell goods via mobile app. It gets rid of all the hassle that is usually associated with local marketplaces and makes it ultra-simple and ultra-fast to do so. The app guarantees sellers will get a certain price for their devices and will be paid upfront, and ensures that their product is sold fast — within 97 minutes.
When you list an item on FOBO, the app instantly prices your item, usually based on the average sales price on eBay. It then starts up an auction that lasts a little more than an hour and a half, during which time other FOBO users can bid on your goods.
But if by some bit of bad luck your item doesn’t sell to another user, FOBO will buy it for the guaranteed starting price and do the hard work of reselling it. So there’s really only upside to listing your item.
FOBO doesn’t want to be a Gazelle-like reseller — it’s mainly just guaranteeing sales prices to seed the marketplace with good stuff. Getting the supply side of a marketplace rolling is the hard part, after all. And it seems to be working: FOBO sold 92 percent of items listed in its 1,000-person beta run over the past few months.
There are other advantages to listing with FOBO, other than just getting a guaranteed amount for a consumer electronics device in 97 minutes. Buyers pay for the good in-app, which means there’s no haggling once they show up to pick up the device. And they agree to meet at a time that works on the seller’s schedule.
On the buyer side, FOBO also makes things easy. When you first sign up, you’re prompted to subscribe to certain types of electronics. And then you get notifications when they go on sale.
The team had raised $1.6 million in funding from Index Ventures, Greylock, Kevin Rose, Chris Sacca, Y Combinator, and a few others.