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‘America needs our help’: Q&A with OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar after Seattle-area startup lands $120M

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‘America needs our help’: Q&A with OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar after Seattle-area startup lands $120M

OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

With many bodily shops closed and on-line retailers dealing with delivery delays, it’s troublesome to purchase absolutely anything amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

OfferUp desires to assist.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based peer-to-peer market made headlines this morning with a contemporary $120 million funding spherical and its announcement to amass rival Letgo.

The offers will give OfferUp a footprint of 20 million month-to-month energetic customers who use its platform to purchase and promote each new and used items. OfferUp already has about 20% of the grownup inhabitants in Seattle utilizing its app each month.

The contemporary money infusion comes at a singular second for OfferUp. With shelter-in-place mandates enforced and varied brick-and-mortar retailers briefly shut down, OfferUp is seeing a big improve in shopping for exercise throughout classes corresponding to dwelling and gardening, video video games, sporting items, and extra.

“America actually wants a market like OfferUp proper now,” OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar instructed GeekWire.

There has by no means been a extra essential time for this. America wants our assist. https://t.co/UHW64o5pGk

— Nick Huzar (@nickhuzar) March 25, 2020

OfferUp plans to put money into product innovation and can rent for open roles — a stark distinction to many tech startups which might be trimming headcount as a result of ongoing financial disaster.

While the corporate is seeing extra utilization of its app lately, additionally it is coping with price-gouging. Business Insider reported final week that OfferUp eliminated hand sanitizer; rest room paper; protecting masks; and disinfecting merchandise from its platform final week.

We caught up Huzar to study extra about OfferUp’s position amid the coronavirus disaster, and what’s forward for the 9-year-old firm. This interview was edited for brevity and readability.

OfferUp raises $120M, will purchase rival Letgo; OLX Group to personal 40% of mixed entity

GeekWire: Thanks for talking with us, Nick. Hope you and your loved ones are wholesome. How did this deal come collectively?

OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar: First off, clearly we’re dwelling in an unprecedented time proper now and I believe there’s quite a lot of native communities and other people and companies which might be struggling. OfferUp has all the time been centered on native and actually serving to folks get worth from the issues that they’ve of their homes, but additionally for those who want issues. This was already an enormous a part of OfferUp and it all the time has been.

So why come along with Letgo? Numerous our strengths have been traditionally within the large coastal cities. In Seattle, about 20% of the grownup inhabitants is utilizing OfferUp each single month. In Los Angeles, we’re over 17%.

Letgo, conversely, has energy in different elements of the nation, particularly within the Midwest. By coming collectively as an organization we’re in a position to service the markets we’re in much more. So now while you look in Seattle for a motorbike quickly, you’re going to see much more bikes.

We even have a delivery enterprise that advantages from this. The sneakers I’m sporting, for instance, I purchased through delivery from somebody in New York. So we are able to higher assist join patrons and sellers wherever within the nation, particularly proper now when folks want issues and are possibly extra remoted of their houses.

GeekWire: Talk about the way you’ll use the $120 million spherical.

Huzar: We might be very considerate in how we deploy that capital. We will certainly be focusing much more on product innovation and bringing extra to market sooner. We’ll proceed to put money into development and put money into our gross sales workforce. We actually simply signed the deal yesterday, so there’s nonetheless rather a lot to be found out. But anticipate us to proceed to develop and rent.

GeekWire: What results are you seeing from the COVID-19 outbreak on how persons are utilizing OfferUp?

Huzar: We’re seeing a 50 to 100% improve in sure classes — dwelling and gardening; video video games; sporting items. People are shopping for video video games or bikes for his or her youngsters as a result of they’re dwelling now. A lady I talked to yesterday purchased a trampoline for her daughter. She needed to purchase it at a retailer down the road but it surely was pressured 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 on the retailer.

We’re seeing extra engagement with gymnasium tools since folks can’t go to the gymnasium. We’re seeing a 30 to 40% improve in our delivery enterprise. People can’t depart the home as a lot.

Other shifts we’re seeing is that non-essentials are down. Fewer persons are shopping for a pleasant costume to exit on a Friday night time, as a result of they aren’t going out. Collectibles, art work, jewellery — persons are simply not spending as a lot time with these given the present atmosphere proper now.

View this submit on Instagram

“Fact: Everything on this image I discovered on @offerup , apart from the pillows contained in the basket, guide weight, and brass candles.) It is wonderful what you are able to do while you save!” – @farhemian_inspo #OfferUpFinds

A submit shared by OfferUp (@offerup) on Mar 25, 2020 at 7:55am PDT

People have a tendency to show to us in a time of want for issues that they need. We wish to do extra sooner to assist folks as quick as we are able to. I can’t inform you what number of calls I’ve had with native companies which might be on OfferUp already about how we are able to higher assist them. We have 2,500 auto sellers proper now which might be spending extra time on-line and determining easy methods to adapt to this new world we now have. I’ve heard tales of individuals doing all of the paperwork and looking out on the automobile just about and the vendor truly will carry them the keys and produce the automobile to their home. That’s type of a brand new approach of doing issues.

There’s additionally a furnishings retailer within the Seattle space that has offered hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of furnishings on OfferUp. I talked to the house owners a number of weeks in the past, attempting to see how we may also help them. They are spending extra time on OfferUp to advertise issues on their retailer, and they’re additionally providing free supply. Maybe you’re caught at dwelling attempting to arrange your work atmosphere and also you don’t have the furnishings. And they’re saying, we’ll simply come carry it to you. It’s been good to see how we’re in a position to assist a few of these native companies.

GeekWire: How are you excited about the bigger market trade? You’ve received opponents corresponding to Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook. How do you see this evolving, when it comes to folks utilizing these providers to purchase and promote objects?

Huzar: 85% of commerce at the moment remains to be not on-line. We see a very large alternative to unlock worth that’s sitting throughout us that we are able to’t see. When I began OfferUp, the a-ha second was trying on the smartphone considering that one, we’re all going to have these units, and two, there’s going quite a lot of wealthy performance that we are able to leverage to assist unlock native worth. That might be an unused bike in your storage, or it might be a motorbike from the bike retailer down the road.

We have a tendency to think about what we’re constructing as a platform for native commerce, not simply used items. In reality, 25% of the objects on OfferUp at the moment are model new. We wish to be the app for native and that’s actually what our focus is. We nonetheless really feel like there’s an enormous alternative as a result of there’s simply so many issues round us proper now that we are able to’t see. So if we are able to companion with extra folks, we may also help to carry extra objects on-line.

GeekWire: You began the corporate in Seattle in 2011. It’s historically been a cloud computing and enterprise software program city. You’ve mentioned that it was nearly a drawback to be in Seattle as a result of buyers didn’t perceive the patron world as a lot. But you’ve stored the corporate right here — one reader at the moment known as the corporate a “exceptional native success story.” What does it imply to you to have constructed OfferUp on this area?

Huzar: I’m a Seattle native, so I’m extraordinarily pleased with that. We’ll proceed to develop and rent right here in Seattle. We have an excellent tech group to construct an organization like this. I couldn’t be extra pleased with constructing OfferUp right here in Seattle versus wherever else within the nation.

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