A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 217 is an interview with Nick Huzar, the Founder and CEO of OfferUp. We talk about OfferUp’s recent fund raise, the acquisition of LetGo, and the state of C2C Marketplaces during Covid-19.
Episode 217 is an interview with Nick Huzar (@nickhuzar), the Founder and CEO of OfferUp (@OfferUp). OfferUp is the largest mobile marketplace in the U.S, facilitating consumer to consumer sales of second-hand goods.
In this interview, we discuss OfferUp’s recent fund raise, the acquisition of LetGo, and the state of C2C Marketplaces during Covid-19.
Don’t forget to like our facebook page, and if you enjoyed this episode please write us a review on itunes.
Episode 217 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded live on Thursday, April 23rd, 2020.
[0:24] Welcome to the Jason and Scott show this is episode 217 being recorded on Thursday April 23rd 2020 I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I’m here with your co-host Scot Wingo.
[0:39] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott show listeners we are still recording during this fun pandemic shelter at home period and
because we normally when we’re not she’ll bring it home have day jobs record the podcast late late at night it really restricts people that are crazy enough to come on the podcast so we’re using this opportunity to go through what I would call our Marketplace bucket list.
So today on the podcast we have another bucket list guess this is pretty exciting.
One of the biggest Trends in US market places that’s kind of under the radar and if you go to like a lot of trade shows and stuff
but it is if you look at traffic data you realize there’s a really big movement here,
is what I would call a new family a new innovation around smartphone app based consumer to consumer or some people say person-to-person marketplaces.
So today on the show we are really excited to have the CEO of what I believed to be the largest one of these these new kind of mobile market places we,
the CEO of offer up Nick who’s are welcome to the show Nick.
[1:43] Thanks for having me it’s great to be here.
[1:45] Do you prefer person-to-person consumer-to-consumer or do you use some other lingo.
[1:50] I think it’s I think it’s all the same that the the main idea is you know leveraging this technology that’s in all of our pockets to kind of reimagine local Commerce as we know it.
[2:05] Awesome and Nick we may be the only ones in the planet that have a Marketplace bucket list but we’re we’re.
[2:14] Everyone needs one.
[2:15] Yeah everyone should have one but I feel like we’re the only ones that are cool enough to actually have one so thanks for helping us check one one off but before we jump into OfferUp in marketplaces
we always like to give listeners a little bit of color about your background so can you tell us what you’re doing and how you came to OfferUp.
[2:35] Yeah happy to so I’ve always been in the I’d say the Internet space pretty much since I graduated college.
[2:42] Kind of dating myself now but I used to I remember coming out of school I had to explain to people on companies why they needed a database connected to their website so that’s kind of gives you an idea of when I graduated college.
But I’ve always been fascinated by I think the the endless possibilities with the internet so in some way shape or form of.
I’ve been in at various startups you know throughout most of my career I did some briefs tents at T-Mobile.
Spend a little bit of time at Microsoft you know I’ve done a few different companies my previous company too,
OfferUp was called connects most people have no idea who the heck we were I’m not surprised but we started.
[3:26] Connects pre Friendster and so sometimes I’ll server after remind people what the heck was Friendster or Friendster came before my space and my space came before Facebook so we were very early I think I’d like to say I learned a lot of a.
Mistakes kind of how to build a company and a startup.
And you know ultimately I had no plans on doing another startup there a lot of work but I had a daughter on the way and I was so excited I went into this room full of stuff.
That I had in my house and I was going to turn it into her nursery and that became the spark,
and that ultimately turned into OfferUp and you know for me would you know I had I didn’t jump on it right away I mean clearly you know I think there’s a long as a graveyard of companies that have tried to.
[4:15] Compete locally but.
I think what what what drew me to this opportunity was this device that is now in all of our pockets but back when we started off her up you know very few people had smartphones in fact there was no Android phone.
So you know what I what I could imagine at the time was like look I just wanted to make these.
I just wanted to clear out this room like quickly and there was no easy way to do that so,
again looking at this device that had was now in my pocket I just kept wondering to myself can we is it time to reimagine what local can be.
You know through these devices so that’s what ultimately you know created this spark for me to want to you know pursue this this this opportunity.
[5:07] That that’s awesome and it’s it’s probably a coincidence I feel like I probably shouldn’t even lump the two of you together but
there’s a prolific track record of entrepreneurs coming from T-Mobile and being very successful at raising funds and I know this because,
the the guy I’m thinking of has the same name as me Jason Goldberg fab.com so.
That may not be good news for you but you’re following in his footsteps.
[5:37] So what year did you found OfferUp is this like 2010.
[5:43] I lose track of time and to be honest I thought like.
[5:46] We’re all doing that now.
[5:47] I’ve years ago I think 90 now yeah.
[5:50] Okay so yeah right when the iPhone one came out so I was good timing
talk us through the funding history I looked up on crunchbase and they were very specific they said you’ve raised 381 million that was funny they couldn’t round up anyway congrats on that that’s that’s always you know,
fundraising isn’t the best measure of success but it is one so congrats on all the fundraising walk us through kind of the funding history there.
[6:17] Yeah well I mean you know going back again to that that moment in my doorway in a room I wanted to clear out I think like like any entrepreneur
you have this big aha moment and then reality hits that you have to actually go build it and that’s when it gets hard and so.
You know again just you know why and I like to remind a lot of people that it people kind of tend to put us in this bucket of oh it’s mobile classifieds and I think.
That’s a fine public perception today but
that’s not to be clear not at all what I set out to build what we set out to build was you know to become the largest local Marketplace period
and that’s you know we what I saw as an opportunity was just unlocking local value and what I mean by that is you know 25% of.
Us households with the two-car garage it can’t park in the garage you know our homes are 30% larger than the 50s but we’re having less kids and so,
just so much stuff stuck in in our homes if you look at storage you know 10% of our population our at storage units but even beyond that and especially now
what about local retail what is what is in these stores like you can never you can’t visualize those things today and I think
the opportunity that I saw was you know again how do you.
Unlock all this value and my belief was it’s locked up because there’s a lot of friction in that experience and so.
[7:43] Anyhow that’s my long way of saying it took us a while to raise funds like the first year we only had a hundred thousand dollars raised,
and we just you know luckily I can code and design and my co-founder could you know set up AWS and set up the back end so between the two of us we pay ourselves literally nothing.
And just coded for basically a year straight.
Um and then year to we had to figure out how to get scale and I’ll spare all the details because I could go on for hours and all the failed experiments that we tried but that was very hard I was a very very hard time so ultimately.
[8:23] Scale from a technology standpoint or scale from a user buyer-seller son.
[8:27] Yeah buyers and sellers and so you know I used to show up to people who pretend you attend to your.
You posted your couch and OfferUp I used to show up and I’d buy it from you,
because we had very few post back then and I wouldn’t tell you that I worked at OfferUp I just wanted you to believe it worked and then I’d bring it back ultimately we had a small office I’d stick it in her office so you can imagine Five Guys coating it a few desks but just junk everywhere that’s what it looked like for a while,
you know it’s one of those fake it till you make it moments but it took us almost two years before we raised our series A,
and I think that was you know I think it was it was very hard I think a lot of people thought we were just trying to replicate,
and what had been done on the desktop you know I think,
you know we are all so early that was another lesson like you know we started really early and so there was no Android phones for a while and so I think that was another.
[9:24] You know I think it was one of those things where we just had to see smartphone adoption take off and then clearly we had to prove to investors that
we actually could get the flywheel to move in a Marketplace we could get buyers to potap by and sellers to post and just continue to get that final to work and so you know and when we raised our series a we were only in Seattle it was very very intentional
there was a handful of competitors at the time and I think they were probably really smart folks but,
on the technical side that I don’t think they were met you know really measuring and thinking about what is success and success is like its liquidity that’s everything and so,
we stayed in one ZIP code until we got that flywheel to Mu conversely we had competitors that were then launching,
they launched an app and so you can use it anywhere in the country and I you know I thought that was disastrous I thought that you know they were not going to.
Have success on liquidity so I didn’t worry too much about them so.
You know where as we raise more Capital over the years a lot of the focus has been early in the early days we just launching
new markets you know we stayed in Seattle for a year you’re so and then register a and with that Capital we wanted to prove that,
we could then roll into numerous other.
[10:38] Yeah so you’re very knowledgeable out Marketplace is to just grind this out yourself or did you know how did you learn so much about marketplaces.
[10:47] Yeah I have I have zero history in marketplaces that and so I actually think.
[10:51] Scar tissue.
[10:54] Benefit you know I remember hearing a podcast once with Reid Hoffman talking about.
Why PayPal was such a success and he said like look I didn’t come from banking like I didn’t know any better I just and I think that was the same.
The way I looked at this like I literally I can’t think of any time where we ever pulled up any desktop websites and marketplaces,
as an example of how to design OfferUp,
it was all just what what was the experience we wanted to create and let’s just design what that is a good example would be,
you know if you open up OfferUp today it’s going to show you items nearby you with some personalization.
And just like this infinite list of pictures when we launched nobody was doing that I mean this was pretty Instagram right so
it was a it was kind of a novel idea at the time and you know we wanted to kind of simulate this treasure hunt right we wanted to have this I just want to visualize
what’s in my neighbor’s garage or what’s in a business down the street so you know I think we’ve taken a lot of just approaches completely different and.
And back to your question I think that’s it’s probably just because we didn’t know any different.
[12:11] Um so I noticed on the crunchbase list there you had some of the some of the late-stage guys some of the mutual funds that have kind of gone early that’s interesting and then I saw Max election so he’s a co-founder of a firm and then also part of the PayPal Mafia has that has he been a good
good addition to the team.
[12:29] Oh yeah Max I’ve known Max just you know over the years and he’s always been very generous with his time and thoughts and.
Clearly very knowledgeable about payments and you know.
So I leaned on him periodically just to kind of pick his brain on what’s happening in the world and how he thinks about.
Your transactions and payments overall.
[12:56] That is terrific Nick for listeners then might not be totally familiar with OfferUp can you kind of walk us through the basic buying and selling flow and kind of what pieces you you help facilitate.
[13:11] Yeah for sure so I think on the buyers you know as I mentioned just briefly a moment ago our our view has been,
you know we want to you know we want to build the simplest largest and most,
trusted local Marketplace and that’s that shows up a lot in the product so you know when you open up the product think of it like walking into a retail store.
And we wanted to make it a very visual you know visual experience and luckily over the years one of our our.
Our beliefs was the cameras would constantly get better and we could you know really show these beautiful pictures you know it within OfferUp and that that has been true and so
you know that’s the first thing I think you notice is a buyer that it is a very different experience than going to a lot of traditional say desktop.
Marketplaces and that’s very intentional we wanted it to be kind of the treasure hunt we wanted it to,
be some elements of serendipity where you maybe are looking for a car and you end up buying a pair of shoes that that happens quite a bit you know on OfferUp,
and so you know our our average buyer you know is on OfferUp like three times a day they engage in OfferUp more like they engage in social media than they do in the traditional.
[14:32] Commerce and so yeah so if you’re a buyer and say for example you’re looking for,
I don’t know what’s popular right now like a lot of things are like like fitness equipment is on fire right now and think a lot of people are stuck at home and they can’t go to the gym,
let’s so let’s say you’re looking for some weights you scroll through you find something there by you then can then you can then read the profile about the cellar like how many radians do they have how far away do they live
do you have trusted connection through friends to that Cellar and you can read through just some overall profile information to make sure
that there’s somebody that you trust and her wanting to do business with and then the process of engaging on you know say those weights is actually very straightforward you can
if it is a shipping item you can just hit a button and have it shipped to you if it’s a local item you can just send them a message and say hey can we meet up tomorrow and,
you know the whole idea from the buyer standpoint was to make it you know a really simple experience but also back to this trust element having a profile and understanding who you’re interacting with,
not giving out your phone number like you know I think in a lot of traditional local market places you have to get your phone number to close the transaction,
um you know OfferUp is really Commerce wrapped around chat so you can communicate all the way to the point of cell without having to give it out personal information.
[16:00] And then on the seller side it’s literally as easy as taking and sharing a photo so like this chair that I’m sitting on right now if I wanted to sell this on OfferUp I would just pop my phone I would take a picture I would give it.
You know a price and maybe a short description and hit post and and less than 30 seconds my chair is now available for the local community to discover and we tend to find that,
people get engagement extremely quickly you know we’ve heard people that you know taking pictures and within a minute you know they get a whole bunch of Engagement.
And you know itself things very quickly so you know like I said that’s that’s a big focus of the product and will continue to be which will be removing,
friction and in the experience and so I think we’re far better today than I think the desktop players just because we’re leveraging.
The power and the smartphone but I still think there’s plenty of plenty of ways we can reduce friction for buyers and sellers.
[17:03] Awesome so so your to set the marketplace buyers sellers can list items buyers can find items they negotiate amongst themselves on pricing,
do you offer an option to facilitate the transaction or do you get into the payment element at all.
[17:25] We do if you enable your item for shipping so when you post an item as a seller there’s a toggle on there to enable shipping or only do local
that is a very fast growing part of our business we launched that in 2018 especially right now with,
with the people stuck at home it’s growing very very fast so you know and that case we take a small percentage,
of the transaction to be able to facilitate payments between buyers and sellers.
[17:55] Gotcha and by the way you made me super nostalgic in the beginning when you said imagine walking into a store because that
we haven’t been able to do that in a few months and it’s like you know it seems trite now I know it was like a much bigger bet in 2010 when you jumped on it but like the the Insight that,
The Experience on the mobile phone would be dramatically different and lower friction than than the traditional desktop one is kind of big and I feel like.
Optimism around the camera I like it keeps paying dividends because I know the new Apple phones that have lidar enem I could imagine you’re gonna be able to get the dimensions of that that desk or chair that you’re selling.
Now or in the in the near future up those kinds of devices.
[18:46] Oh yeah I like I said I think there’s.
We will continue its I always say that we’re kind of Reinventing herself every year so we’re going back and we’re going yep we can make this process better we have let’s save some time here so they’re just so much more we can continue to layer on the marketplace that we have but
back to the point.
You know it’s just these devices continue to get more and more powerful and we can leverage that to make it a better better experience for our customers.
[19:17] Wrinkle so you guys recently announced with your last round that you’re acquiring one of your competitors called let go tell us about that and how that’s going and why you’re doing it and.
It’s always imagine you’re in the midst of integration that’s always fun.
[19:36] Yeah so I mean you know I think the there’s a huge opportunity in the US and I think any time you’re going after a large Market you’re going to have competitors so as I mentioned even when we started we had a handful of competitors,
but I think we were the first to really start to get meaningful scale in a pretty big way.
We tried to stay as quiet as we could for as long as you could we delay doing press for a number of years we just kind of.
Hung out in our office which is in the swamp in Bellevue Washington and didn’t really tell a lot of people what we’re doing but ultimately,
you know we saw that go enter the US and.
You know I think what became interesting over the years was just kind of how we approached you know the market we’ve gone very
deep into many of the top 30 dmas and the country,
as you know as OfferUp we have markets like Phoenix and La where over 17 18 percent of the adult population in those markets is using OfferUp every single month.
[20:41] Um and with let go they you know they are as I said have more of a presence and other parts of the country and then so I think that right there made it.
Pretty intriguing to explore working with them more as we think about how do we how do we grow in other parts of the country even more how do we kind of drive a local adoption where we’re already strong.
So we thought there were quite a few synergies and not a ton of overlap I think people tend to gravitate.
To the market places where they have the most success I don’t think most users are going to use you know a whole bunch of these I think they’re just really going to focus on the ones that,
is producing the best value for them so you know I think that right there was you know as we spent more time with them it became more intriguing that there was a good you know Synergy in our in our businesses.
And then on top of that you know as we wanted to come together we just have a lot of you know I think,
product development ahead of us and things we wanted to build so you know raising capital on top of that was was intriguing it as well and so we’re feel fortunate that their investors invested and,
you know we have I think some of the best investors on the planet and OfferUp and they also participated it in this financing to.
[22:06] Are you going to there’s one strategy and mobile apps to have kind of two apps out there because it’s almost like more virtual shelf space are you guys going to have kind of two apps a little bit of different flavor are you going to consolidate them into one.
[22:19] Yeah well we think there’s a lot of opportunity ultimately in having one experience but we are definitely going to,
tread lightly and into as we explore integration with them the best way to do it so we don’t want we really want to make sure that,
you know we’re taking care of the let-go users and taking care of the OfferUp users as best we can but we’re,
I guess the point is we’re not going to just flick a switch we’re going to spend quite a bit of time and making sure we’re being thoughtful about how we how we come together.
[22:51] Yeah the mobile app stuff is always very tricky because obviously like it’s super hard to get customers to download an app and be and particularly its even way harder to get them to be a regular user of that app and so.
Fragmenting your audience amongst multiple apps you know comes with some baggage but first God’s Point like it also potentially.
Boost your visibility in that App Store.
A random side no just because it’s so sad it’s funny but one of my big clients is Walmart and they’ve had this.
This multi-year debate about if they should have two apps general merchandise and grocery or one and I’ve always strongly felt they should have won,
a few months ago they finally agreed to do that and then a month before they merge the two apps covid-19 pandemic hits and the way it 10x is downloads of their grocery out.
[23:46] Yeah you can’t you can’t predict that.
[23:49] No no so I briefly thought I finally won that argument and then the the community the world spoke.
But I do I noticed that you like to increase the level of difficulty you were just having a kid and you decided to throw in a start-up and like you decided to do a big round of funding and a merger in the middle of a pandemic so.
Props to you for that.
Um the you know to set of marketplaces are super interesting from a marketing standpoint like there’s a lot of debate one big debate is do you expand geographically or not and it sounds like you guys made a.
Intentional decision to get a concentration in some Geo’s before you expanded but the other big question is.
Can you know can you really lean into marketing to one side or the other right so are you no do you try to in hand.
Entice Sellers and then that will like pull in the buyers or do you and try to you know do you try to get buyers and that’ll pull in the sellers like has there been a.
A strategy that’s been particularly effective for you or how do you think about that.
[24:58] Yeah so you know in the early days if I was to say what was one of the harder periods and.
It’s going OfferUp it was definitely getting the flywheel to move and I’ve heard a lot you know a number of people say building marketplaces are really hard and then they’re also really hard.
To kind of break down and you know I know that pain because not only did we figure that in Seattle but.
Every time we entered a new market essentially we were creating a brand new Marketplace so you know what
I used to know what we used to spend a bunch of time on was looking at kind of the overall metrics that really mattered and I used to always say hey we need to get neighborhood sick we need to create the zombie apocalypse
like how do we get you know how do we get you know how do we get the flywheel to move where the seller post something then the buyers there and the buyer has an amazing experience and then they tell their friends and family and it just kind of keeps going and going and going and you know,
what what are those attributes of those markets that are really material and what we found early on was.
Population density definitely matters to a certain degree.
[26:04] You know whether matters like do you really want to move a couch and in Chicago,
in the dead of winter we actually you know we’re thinking about that and then we said no like nobody wants to do that and,
and so luckily we found markets that that we thought you know just had the right attributes and we really over invested in those markets and Allah is a great example I mean I always had massive Market a lot of people have cars they can move Goods around
the weather’s nice most of the year it’s very viral most of OfferUp s’ growth is we spend dollars on marketing but to be clear most of it is word of mouth and I think that’s it goes back to the obsession over the product and,
created a really simple experience between buyers and sellers and and because of that you know most people I run into ask them how they heard about OfferUp and it’s usually friend friend or a family member.
[27:02] Yeah those were I think some of the harder learnings in the beginning you know today where I you know I really give kudos to my marketing team like a lot of the work they do I mean we do all of our marketing in-house a hundred percent,
um you know and that team.
All kind of works together external marketing internal Communications and we’re constantly call them day Traders they’re constantly
um you know looking at markets differently and sometimes they’ll try to drive more Supply and Target sellers more sometimes they’ll pull back but they are constantly iterating all throughout the country
sometimes at a national level but many times on a local level to kind of make sure that,
supply and demand balances is where it needs to be.
[27:50] Awesome and then we talked earlier about like when they check that that available for shipping option that you potentially can facilitate payments,
I forgot to ask.
Right is that exclusively through I could traditional credit card processor or do you guys offer like I imagine consumers could do this outside of you but do you guys facilitate any kind of digital wallet like a PayPal or something along those lines.
[28:18] We don’t today but again this is a big growth area for us and I think there’s a lot of opportunity.
To make a much better payment experience in the US.
Especially now if anyone’s gone shopping recently who the heck wants to carry cash around anymore who wants to touch these POS systems at now like the one at the store down the street from me has like a piece of Saran Wrap over it,
and then it and then it right next to it it has a bunch of hand sanitizer so an egg.
[28:54] Was already unappetizing now it could kill you.
[28:57] Yeah now I can kill you right and so.
If you look to the rest of the world I feel like we are so far behind in the US and you know I’ve had people ask me well why is that and my response is usually you’re asking the wrong question to be asking who what company.
You know is going to be the one that helps to drive this and and I think you know because of our local presence and how many millions of monthly meetups we have and.
You know we have more kind of merchants Now using OfferUp you know I think there’s a big area there in the US but I get I get more and more frustrated.
Week after week of trying to figure out you know another new POS system I could go in there well if I put the chip in all y’all do the chip and then you hit this button why did I gotta do this and I’m.
I just want to pull your hair out every time it’s not a great experience and it needs to needs to evolve.
[29:49] Yeah I actually have an Instagram feed that is exclusively pictures of handwritten notes on POS terminals explaining how to use them.
[29:58] I gotta I gotta I gotta follow you then because I hear hear.
[30:00] It’s Saturday it’s not hard to find.
[30:04] Now how to find material and yeah it’s funny because it’s like people forget but PayPal and the US and Ali pay in China they you know their original purpose was not necessary to digitize cash it was,
to you know create a more robust trust system for peer-to-peer transactions and so I could certainly see that playing out.
[30:28] That’s and that’s a big part 2 I mean that is that is a big part is really,
bringing trust into local transactions you know and and online you know it’s,
it’s already there anyway if you’re shipping things it’s already you know that’s that path has been proven again and again so this is definitely an area where we’re pioneering and there’s still a lot to figure out but something I’m definitely passionate about.
[30:53] Nice and then unfortunately is like it’s things start opening up from the pandemic we’re likely going to be in a.
Some flavor of recession and you know a lot of consumers could be tighter on credit so you know I could even imagine things like like the installment model and things having a.
Having a role but in addition to that the other thing that would.
Maybe fit at some point is do you guys think about ever helping to facilitate that shipping when that’s an option.
[31:25] Yeah so so today we as I mentioned we introduced this in 2018 we have payments and
we’re presently enabling shipping for items under 20 pounds and under $500 so you know part of that was simply just to kind of get the foundation and get the Kinks figured out and there’s been a lot of work,
as you can imagine when we first launched that but over overtime like I envisioned that anything on OfferUp should be,
deliverable in some way shape or form so I think there’s a lot of work to figure out how to do that the right way,
so that will continue to explore different ways to do that.
[32:09] So if you’re if you’re not in the payment flow then unlike a traditional Marketplace like an Amazon or Ebay then presumably you’re not taking at a crate
so explain to us what is the business model where are people paying the list or our walk us through kind of the different areas where you make money.
[32:31] Yeah so there’s there’s two different I’d say kind of buckets for monetization today at OfferUp and the first one is promotions and the second one is paying so
you know when it comes to Promotions our Focus there simply to help sellers to be more successful.
So you know we have first party ads for example where you know you could come in as a seller and you know you can pay it increase your visibility on the platform
just helps you sell things quicker there’s also a reoccurring subscription model there where you could say okay
myself quite a bit you know I’m going to I’m going to pay a monthly fee and I’m just going to keep rotates a five items into that into the feed
and we and we help to that seller to sell those items faster,
we also have a Autos business where you know this this was
I’d say a vertical that just blew up on us that we had we had wasn’t like we were Geniuses I swear there was probably just a convention
one year and I think Vegas and I think somebody must have stood up and said hey I’m selling a lot of cars on OfferUp and all said and this vertical just beginning.
[33:46] Huge for us across the country and so in the last few years you started to spend more time
thinking about how we can help auto dealers to be more successful so that is another promotional tool where we integrate with their their dealer management system so they don’t always have to use the app you know if a car goes on the lot the magically goes on OfferUp.
We also give them advertising analytics they get a special badge on their profile there’s a handful of things we do to make sure that
this they stand out and so we have thousands and thousands of paying car dealers and that’s growing very rapidly,
and then on the payment side it’s you know today mostly shipping as I mentioned.
And that’s that’s why we’re taking a small percentage of transactions there.
[34:36] I’ve also seen some ads like a big Star Wars fan I see game stock advertisers bunch of cool stuff in the Star Wars category is that is that if you guys built your own ad Network or is that pulled from like another ad network of some kind.
[34:49] Yeah so we incorporated you know the third-party ads that you see in there are a number of years ago primarily because it was easy one and two it actually.
Helped buyers and it was one of those where I was saying we’re never going to put ads in there it’s going to ruin the feed.
But I found actually the opposite was true where buyers were finding that hey maybe if I couldn’t find that kids bike down the street that I wanted but maybe I could see one you know,
from a you know some local retail store and have it shipped to me or go go buy it.
The other thing that it did was also enabled people to do some pricing comparison right so they maybe they see that brand new bike and they see one very summer,
in the feed and they realize they’re getting a really good deal on that so we do do some third party advertising which you can kind of see through out the feet as well.
[35:47] Yeah I think you guys do a great job at it there’s a price and it’s very clearly an ad where it’s not like you know someone named other marketplaces where you’re kind of like you know
Max why is this showing up and you’re targeting is really good to other ones you’re kind of like why am I seeing this random iPhone accessory when I’m over here looking for couches.
So so that’s super helpful you mentioned earlier a bunch of kpis to get the liquidity going give a give lister’s any metrics you can share and you know I don’t want you to
get it any uncomfortable space but anything you can give us about the scale of the business to help them understand I think that would be interesting.
[36:26] Sure yeah so I think the you know what I would say you know going back to.
Be buying things from people in the beginning liquidity and my mind is everything you know the switching cost to join to try any marketplaces,
is not not that high so we wanted to make sure that we were we were the best Marketplace we could be for local buying and selling so,
you know what I could say around that is you know on a monthly basis we have billions of dollars in GMB,
from transactions happening on OfferUp and so it’s great to see that we’re providing that value and success for buyers and sellers.
You could also probably glean this from the App Store but you know the OfferUp app is now but installed over 90 million times we’re only focused on the US.
So we’ve been a top I’d say we’ve been a top-10 shopping app for many years now so I’m pretty proud of that considering.
You know we’re up there with giants you know multi billion dollar publicly-traded companies so it’s pretty happy to see that.
You know people have been telling others about OfferUp at such a high rate that it’s kind of.
You catapulted us to the top and we’ve been there for for such a long time.
[37:45] And I think I think the other thing again but I’d share is kind of what I said before is we have markets a lot of our special you know top markets where you know we’re close to 20% of the entire
adult population using Opera every month and I think that’s only going to get better as we continue to improve on the product experience and drive more,
you know adoption there.
[38:09] Let’s try to think again maybe something worth sharing with listeners around just what’s happening you know with the marketplace today and so,
you know if anything you know I really feel for.
[38:22] You know a lot of people and what they’re going through out there right now I think a lot of businesses are hurting not just for additional but also tech companies and.
Fortunately for us it’s the opposite like we are we have been growing so quick over the last number of,
months and the categories are really changed like I think part of the challenge is people can’t you know they can’t go to the store down the street so how are they going to get certain Goods,
and so our shipping business or seeing a lot more people shipping things electronic specially videogames I think video games are very you know trying to keep the kids busy.
You know locally we’re seeing a lot of what I call kind of porch pickups where people said hey let’s stay stay stay safe as socially distance but hey I’ll just leave the you know just leave the dresser out on the.
[39:17] On the on the on the patio or the door and just leave my knee or the matter.
Ring the doorbell and show me that you’re leaving the money there so I think there’s,
you know I think people are behaving differently but we’re definitely seeing a shift in categories where like I said like Fitness is way up household goods Electronics tools,
things around the yard so not I don’t think surprising for most people but definitely seeing it’s been great to see how OfferUp during this time is able to really you know help help people and how those categories have changed.
[39:57] Sprinkle the so we saw such an advisor when I say we is interesting we saw the
the stimulus checks hit like starting on the 15th and it’s we saw this kind of overall lift this is all public from webinar we saw this overall lift and then like this really interesting kind of taking off into another gear around then,
did you guys see anything around that stimulus check time.
[40:23] Yeah so the you know this is an interesting time of year for OfferUp heart of it is usually spring cleaning,
and that’s definitely happening quite a bit but we’ve also noticed
around stimulus and and tax time it definitely a lift you know you can you can tell when people are getting their taxes or tax refunds and stimulus check so by the day as you can see like this huge,
step up and overall engagement.
[40:55] Yeah like on the flip side of that are you finding any extra challenge like you know a lot of your goods were we’re sort of handed off person a person and I imagine there’s extra trepidation about.
Social distancing and stuff like that are you having to take extra steps to make people comfortable with with person-to-person transactions right now.
[41:19] So we you know we spent a lot of time just kind of thinking about this and we have a Blog where we posted kind of our overall points of view and guidance on that I think the challenge clearly is it say,
it’s a local city by City,
decision and it’s still shocking to me that there’s still a number of cities that haven’t really quarantined so you know I don’t think it’s our call to be specific.
On exactly what you should and shouldn’t do but we did have some overall high-level guidelines and encourage people to pay attention to what you know your city and officials are saying locally and try to adhere to those.
But I think it’s a definitely a kind of a,
get a thread the needle lightly because we want to be able to help people but we want people to be safe and especially when stores and resources are close like where can they get things right now and so,
I think in one level we’re providing a service to help people but we want them to be safe and adapt.
[42:26] You know we’ve seen auto dealers for example selling cars right now and you’re kind of like well how is that working and what you’ve seen them do.
You know the post an item on OfferUp and they’ll communicate around it and then they’ll jump on the phone with the the buyer and they’ll do title and they do all the paperwork and financing.
And they just bring the card I just bring the car to the buyers house and they just wave at him out the window here’s your car congrats and I’ll leave the key right here for you and.
So this you know you’re seeing people you know adapt during a time like this to figure out how to how to make it work.
[43:05] Yeah that’s fascinating and you mention Auto which is a an interesting category to me like you you don’t necessarily think of that as a.
Peer-to-peer ton of play but it really is right like is that a category you guys entered intentionally or was that a pleasant surprise or how is that played out.
[43:27] Yeah so as I mentioned a little bit earlier it was it was a pleasant surprise I would love to say we were Geniuses and really figured something out there but,
um I think it’s again back to,
trading this this very easy to use local experience I think a lot of dealers started jumping on our platform because it was so easy to list cars and attract a lot of buyers,
and so we just move clearly benefit benefited from that so you know I think I definitely think today we’re probably one of the top places in the country,
to buy a car I mean we sell.
Millions of millions of millions of cars on offer up every year and so you know it’s definitely a big vertical for us that will continue to invest in.
[44:15] That that’s awesome the like another one that I’m just somewhat curious about so I try to follow the Platforms in China pretty closely and obviously you don’t taobao is,
is a huge consumer to Consumer platform there and one thing I’ve noticed over the last like four or five years is.
They have dramatically pivoted from being super product-centric like being a catalog of product to being very content set direct so they’re like really leaning into the microblogs and the short video and all those sorts of things,
like I haven’t seen that as much by anyone in the u.s. like do you think that could work in the US or do you think there’s just a different sensibility or.
[44:58] And just to elaborate on what you’re saying are you are you talking about where people are showing off products and are these short videos.
[45:07] Yeah yeah it gets it’s like a seller would you know now is likely to have their own page on you know I like think of it like a microsite on taobao and they’re they’re doing like HSN Style,
you know what a little 60-second product demo videos to sell their goods.
[45:26] Yeah I mean I think that’s definitely interesting you know I think that’s something that we could continue to explore and play with overtime,
you know I think there is a time and place for that
especially if you’re a power sellers selling you know a lot of items and you want to build some Affinity around what you’re doing you know today at least you know the majority of OfferUp is really kind of overall,
you know peer-to-peer so.
I wouldn’t say your I could see your average seller doing that and depth but I could definitely see I think more powerseller spending the time to do that and then again like I said before these,
phones keep getting better right the quality is getting better all around and so I think it’s just a more engaging experience versus what,
you know what it may have been in the past.
[46:18] That’s a good let’s let’s explore that so you obviously spend everyday kind of marinating and the e-commerce juice of marketplaces and transactions or anything where do you think things are going to go in the next three to five years or we’re going to have like.
AR VR or do you think it’s just going to be better kind of experiences along the lines of what we’re having here.
[46:39] Well I mean I definitely think there’s a big there’s a big movement happening it’s already been happening but
I think because of covid it’s probably going to move quite a bit faster and that is just the overall again unlocking of local value in my mind you know
85% of Commerce,
it’s still not online today it’s local and I think for everyone that’s in Tech we’ve kind of scratch our heads and like Oh I thought we all used you know the big e-commerce players that are out there and,
um I think they will continue to evolve and probably grow and chip away at that number,
but I think there’s just a lot of Locked Up value all around us and you know part of our vision is how do we create the best experience and help.
You know sellers to bring those those things online so I think that that moment is going to happen,
at an accelerated Pace especially right now you know I think there’s a lot of struggling businesses that,
you know soon as covid hit and their physical store closed then the answer was like well now what do I do and so,
you know if they can bring product online we can help to facilitate those those transactions in the pretty meaningful way so.
[47:59] My vision for OfferUp has always been I just I just want you to open up the app and for almost anything you need locally we have it and we’re able to help you facilitate that in the easiest possible way that we can do that,
so you know again it’s great to see
that we already have you know huge percentage of the population using the product and buying and selling things you you know billions of dollars worth of goods every month but I still think we’re in the first inning I think there’s just a lot more we can do,
you know for our customers.
[48:30] Cool nigga you know one thing that we haven’t talked about yet is,
our friends at Facebook like they obviously have this Marketplace platform is that a direct competitor is that like how do you think about Facebook Marketplace and is that getting any traction.
[48:46] Yeah I mean to be clear Facebook has had some type of Commerce even before we started OfferUp I mean you know I think,
Facebook has definitely been,
you know a large Network and there’s there’s a zillion different things you can do on there including Commerce so you definitely have to take them seriously you know as a competitor.
You know I think the other thing that I think gives me you know some level of comfort is just how many different things they have to focus on as a company like it seems like.
For every competitor that comes out they immediately have a solution or they’re trying to create their own there so I think they have many different things they’re trying to do and we have one and we’re going to go very deep and do that thing.
The best that we possibly can and obsess over that but you know definitely a competitor and as I mentioned.
Anytime you’re going after a large Market you’re going to attract competitors so.
Yep they’re the out there and definitely definitely spending time on Commerce for sure.
[49:55] Yeah it’s usually a bad sign if no one else on the planet ever wants to go after the same Market you see.
[50:00] Yeah your idea is probably not a good one.
[50:02] And Nick that’s actually going to be a great place to wrap it up because we’ve used up our allotted time but if listeners have any comments or questions
we encourage you to continue the conversation with us on Twitter or on our Facebook page and I really want to thank you for
taking time out from this crazy pandemic to talk with us about marketplaces.
[50:26] Thanks for having me it was good to finally talk to someone else because I’ve been hunkered down in my Den now for seven weeks so thanks for getting me out of the office mentally.
[50:39] So we really appreciate it and then if folks want to follow any of your thought leadership or anything do you are you a Twitter or you still on prinster you mentioned that was that earlier.
[50:51] Yeah you can find me on Twitter at Nick huzar.
[50:56] Awesome and we’ll put that in the show notes so everyone be safe and well out there and until next time happy commercing.