In response to the unworldliness of uber-marketplaces like eBay, Shpock (“shop in your pocket”) is a new iOS and Android app from Austrian startup, Finderly, which wants to return the local classified ads model used for selling goods peer-to-peer, to something resembling its original simplicity. It does this by taking advantage of the proliferation of camera-enabled and GPS-powered smartphones to make placing an ad a snap, literally.
Using the app, users simply photograph the product they are selling, add a simple description, pick a category and suggest a price. Then other users can search by location and/or category and begin communicating. Interestingly, Shpock doesn’t handle the transaction, but instead the use-case is intended to replicate the offline model, in the sense that users pay in cash upon real-world collection. That said, co-founder Armin Strbac tells me some users already are ignoring the local aspect of the app by sending goods by post and accepting payment through other means.
A couple of other things that are designed to set apart Shpock from legacy marketplaces: Users are required to register via their Facebook accounts, to help reduce fraud and add a degree of authenticity and self policing of the community. And there’s an emphasis on the visual aspect of the app’s marketplace — post-Pinterest, one suspects — with Shpock’s marketing material describing the app as a place to discover, buy and sell “beautiful things”.
Launched first in Austria but now available worldwide, Shpock says it’s ultimately gunning for Europe. The app is already available in English, German, French, and Croatian. That’s, perhaps, a smart move considering that it has a number of very direct U.S. competitors. These include Rumgr and Yardsale.
No word, however, on how Shpock plans to make money. But, since launching around five weeks ago, other metrics look pretty encouraging: 10,000+ downloads, and 3,000+ items listed by users.
Shpock is backed by Angel investors, including Johann Hansmann (Buusu, and Mysugr).