It’s been just about two months since FOBO launched its local marketplace app for consumer electronics. But already, the app has proven wildly successful in its home market of San Francisco, where it’s pushing a $1 million run rate and spreading just by word-of-mouth.
FOBO is an ultra-simple app for buying — and selling — consumer electronics from your mobile phone. Aiming to be a Craigslist competitor, the app does away with many of the problems that users of that marketplace run into — i.e. lack of a guaranteed price, flaky buyers, and those who like to show up and haggle after the fact.
Here’s how it works: Sellers list their consumer electronics on the app, and FOBO offers them a guaranteed minimum price for each device. Then, the items are put up for 97-minute auctions, during which time local buyers can bid to purchase the goods for anything above the minimum price.
When an auction is over, the purchase amount is deducted from the winner’s credit card, and then buyer and seller find a time to exchange the item within 48 hours. Once the handoff is complete and verified by the buyer, the seller receives her share of the sale.
If no one bids on the device, the FOBO team buys it and resells it themselves through other auction sites. Either way, the seller gets paid.
I tested out the app to see how it works, selling off some consumer electronics devices I had lying around the house. That included a WDTV streaming video player, an Apple wireless keyboard, and a Dropcam HD wireless security camera. As shown in the video above, two of the three items sold for significantly more than their starting prices, while the third item was sold directly to FOBO.
The whole process was quick and painless and resulted in me selling about $100 worth of goods in just a few hours, all without having to deal with the hassles of flaky Craigslist buyers. That ease of use means about half of all FOBO sellers who have tried it out come back and use it again, which leads to more — and better — deals on gadgets.
To see my experience with the app, check out the video above — or better yet, if you’re in San Francisco, try FOBO out for yourself.