Nymbull wants to guard your next Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace item for sale


Nymbull smartlock attached to a wooden fence.
Image Credits: Nymbull

Buying and selling on marketplace websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace often lead to meeting a stranger somewhere to complete the purchase and pick up the item.

With over 1 billion Facebook Marketplace users per month, Nymbull founder Jackson Wegelin doesn’t think that’s necessary for peer-to-peer transactions. He estimates that between interacting with potential buyers and dealing with no-shows, each sale takes about a week to complete.

His company, which participated in Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt, aims to eliminate a lot of that hassle and get completed sales down to an average of two to three days through the creation of a patented remote lock and sales website that enables users to list their item on the Nymbull website and share that link on the marketplace of their choice. He refers to it as “lock it, list it, leave it.”

Sellers purchase the lock — similar to a bicycle lock — to lock up items for sale at their location of choice for potential buyers to inspect the item. If the buyer is satisfied, they complete the payment through the Nymbull website to get the unlock code. The company uses Stripe and offers charge-back protection to both parties.

“There has been lots of evolution in marketplaces,” Wegelin said. “We have pizza companies using lockers as do people for dropping keys for Airbnbs, as well as Amazon pick-up lockers. This became more normal as COVID hit and people started social distancing and wanting non-contact transactions.”

The idea for the company came to Wegelin in 2016 when he had a grill that he wanted to sell. He lives on a busy main street in his neighborhood and thought about listing the item and locking it to a tree in the front of his house so people could look at it. While searching for remote locks that would enable him to unlock it after someone bought the grill, he came up short.

An inventor by nature — he holds 70 U.S. patents as an electrical and mechanical engineer — Wegelin set out to build one of his own. A year later, he started filing patents for the Nymbull lock and now has four issued patents.

Wegelin, based in Ohio, now has 500 locks and is experimenting with sales on Nymbull’s website, which he expects to launch soon. He is still working on pricing for the locks and item posting. However, he said it will be a subscription model for sellers, while buyers will pay a few dollars for each transaction.

Sellers will be able to put a free hold on items for a certain number of hours and have flexibility to offer more holding time for the buyer to decide on the purchase. For those needing longer, potential buyers can ask for a day or two hold by paying a few dollars.

As he was testing out the locking system, one of the most common questions he received was how to lock up an item of clothing, like a shirt. He tested out methods of looping the lock through the sleeves and a hanger that he hung on an over-the-door hook. Other sellers have gotten creative with drilling holes in plastic containers that can be locked to a fence, Wegelin said.

Ultimately, he wants Nymbull to be the mediator between buyer and seller so that items can be safely purchased and sold without either party having to interact at all if it is not needed, Wegelin said.

“The lock keeps people honest and helps buyers see what they are paying for it,” he added. “There are lots of opportunities where we can take this, such as food pick-up, medication delivery or unattended pick-ups.”

More TechCrunch

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.