Q&A with OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar after Seattle-area startup lands $120M – GeekWire
With quite a few bodily outlets closed and on-line vendors struggling with delivery delays, it’s tough to buy just about nearly anything amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
OfferUp wishes to support.
The Bellevue, Wash.-dependent peer-to-peer marketplace created headlines this early morning with a new $120 million funding spherical and its announcement to purchase rival Letgo.
The bargains will give OfferUp a footprint of 20 million monthly active consumers who use its system to buy and provide both of those new and employed merchandise. OfferUp already has about 20% of the grownup population in Seattle utilizing its application every single thirty day period.
The new cash infusion arrives at a unique instant for OfferUp. With shelter-in-spot mandates enforced and various brick-and-mortar vendors temporarily shut down, OfferUp is observing a considerable improve in obtaining action across types these as dwelling and gardening, video clip video games, sporting merchandise, and more.
“America truly requires a marketplace like OfferUp suitable now,” OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar told GeekWire.
There has never been a more vital time for this. The us requires our support. https://t.co/UHW64o5pGk
— Nick Huzar (@nickhuzar) March 25, 2020
OfferUp plans to commit in merchandise innovation and will seek the services of for open roles — a stark distinction to quite a few tech startups that are trimming headcount owing to the ongoing financial disaster.
Whilst the business is observing more utilization of its application not too long ago, it is also working with value-gouging. Organization Insider noted last week that OfferUp eliminated hand sanitizer bathroom paper protective masks and disinfecting items from its system last week.
We caught up Huzar to discover more about OfferUp’s part amid the coronavirus disaster, and what is in advance for the 9-12 months-outdated business. This job interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
GeekWire: Thanks for speaking with us, Nick. Hope you and your family are healthful. How did this deal appear together?
OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar: Initial off, obviously we’re residing in an unprecedented time suitable now and I think there’s a great deal of nearby communities and people today and organizations that are battling. OfferUp has often been concentrated on nearby and truly encouraging people today get benefit from the matters that they have in their homes, but also for people today that will need matters. This was already a major portion of OfferUp and it often has been.
So why appear together with Letgo? A great deal of our strengths have been traditionally in the major coastal towns. In Seattle, about 20% of the grownup population is utilizing OfferUp every single solitary thirty day period. In Los Angeles, we’re in excess of 17%.
Letgo, conversely, has energy in other sections of the country, primarily in the Midwest. By coming together as a business we’re in a position to service the markets we’re in even more. So now when you appear in Seattle for a bike before long, you’re going to see a great deal more bikes.
We also have a delivery business that positive aspects from this. The shoes I’m wearing, for case in point, I purchased by using delivery from somebody in New York. So we can much better support connect potential buyers and sellers anyplace in the country, primarily suitable now when people today will need matters and are maybe more isolated in their households.
GeekWire: Discuss about how you’ll use the $120 million spherical.
Huzar: We will be very thoughtful in how we deploy that money. We will unquestionably be focusing a great deal more on merchandise innovation and bringing more to sector speedier. We’ll continue on to commit in expansion and commit in our profits staff. We actually just signed the deal yesterday, so there’s nonetheless a great deal to be figured out. But be expecting us to continue on to grow and seek the services of.
GeekWire: What consequences are you observing from the COVID-19 outbreak on how people today are utilizing OfferUp?
Huzar: We’re observing a 50 to 100% improve in specified types — dwelling and gardening video clip video games sporting merchandise. People today are obtaining video clip video games or bikes for their kids for the reason that they are dwelling now. A girl I talked to yesterday purchased a trampoline for her daughter. She needed to buy it at a retail store down the road but it was compelled to shut, so she seemed on OfferUp and was in a position to get it from somebody down the road for 30% of what she would have paid out at the retail store.
We’re observing more engagement with health club equipment due to the fact people today can’t go to the health club. We’re observing a 30 to 40% improve in our delivery business. People today can’t leave the residence as a lot.
Other shifts we’re observing is that non-necessities are down. Fewer people today are obtaining a wonderful dress to go out on a Friday evening, for the reason that they are not going out. Collectibles, artwork, jewellery — people today are just not investing as a lot time with these specified the current environment suitable now.
People today are inclined to flip to us in a time of will need for matters that they want. We want to do more speedier to support people today as quickly as we can. I can’t tell you how quite a few calls I’ve experienced with nearby organizations that are on OfferUp already about how we can much better guidance them. We have 2,500 auto sellers suitable now that are investing more time on-line and figuring out how to adapt to this new earth we have. I’ve heard stories of people today accomplishing all the paperwork and looking at the vehicle just about and the seller actually will carry them the keys and carry the vehicle to their residence. That’s type of a new way of accomplishing matters.
There is also a home furnishings retail store in the Seattle spot that has bought tens of millions of pounds of home furnishings on OfferUp. I talked to the entrepreneurs a couple weeks ago, trying to see how we can support them. They are investing more time on OfferUp to promote matters on their retail store, and they are also presenting free supply. Possibly you’re trapped at dwelling trying to established up your do the job environment and you don’t have the home furnishings. And they are saying, we’ll just appear carry it to you. It’s been wonderful to see how we’re in a position to support some of these nearby organizations.
GeekWire: How are you thinking about the larger marketplace sector? You’ve acquired opponents these as Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook. How do you see this evolving, in terms of people today utilizing these products and services to buy and provide objects?
Huzar: 85% of commerce right now is nonetheless not on-line. We see a truly major possibility to unlock benefit that’s sitting down all close to us that we can’t see. When I started out OfferUp, the a-ha instant was looking at the smartphone thinking that a person, we’re all going to have these devices, and two, there’s going a great deal of wealthy operation that we can leverage to support unlock nearby benefit. That could be an unused bike in your garage, or it could be a bike from the bike retail store down the road.
We are inclined to think of what we’re making as a system for nearby commerce, not just employed merchandise. In simple fact, 25% of the objects on OfferUp right now are model new. We want to be the application for nearby and that’s truly what our aim is. We nonetheless really feel like there’s a huge possibility for the reason that there’s just so quite a few matters close to us suitable now that we can’t see. So if we can spouse with more people today, we can support to carry more objects on-line.
GeekWire: You started out the business in Seattle in 2011. It’s usually been a cloud computing and enterprise program city. You’ve stated that it was practically a disadvantage to be in Seattle for the reason that buyers didn’t have an understanding of the consumer earth as a lot. But you have held the business below — a person reader right now referred to as the business a “remarkable nearby results story.” What does it mean to you to have created OfferUp in this region?
Huzar: I’m a Seattle indigenous, so I’m exceptionally very pleased of that. We’ll continue on to grow and seek the services of below in Seattle. We have a great tech local community to make a business like this. I could not be more very pleased of making OfferUp below in Seattle compared to anyplace else in the country.