Students are often in a temporary state, meaning they often need their furniture, appliances and more on a short-term basis. Eric Yang, Avery Scope Crafts, Justin Luo and Michael Aki — all current Emory University undergraduates who had worked together previously on a failed startup — noticed that there are no apps for college students to directly sell to other college students. They aimed to solve this problem with Vezzy, a sort of geolocated Craigslist launched this past summer.
The team developed and launched the first version of the app on iOS and Android in just a month and a half. Within the first 10 days, Vezzy saw 1000 downloads.
Now, the team is seeking to raise outside capital to scale to more campuses. Hear directly from them on how they’re making transactions easier, faster and safer for students.
What does Vezzy do?
Vezzy is a second hand C2C marketplace focused solely on university students by using location services. Through Vezzy, a university email must be verified to gain access to their university’s market, allowing students to buy and sell from people they know and trust. Since all buyers and sellers will be university students, there is no need to ship items, and students can pick up their items in person on campus.
Vezzy allows consumers to target specific products through the applications categorization feature. For example, students are able to purchase textbooks for their upcoming classes from students who have already taken the course.
What did you learn from your first (failed) startup?
The main takeaways from our first startup was our overall organization and planning. With Vezzy, we started from the end goal we wanted: the ability to expand into all colleges and have big enough user base to succeed. Then, we worked our way backwards through the steps of what we have to do this year, this month, today, to make that happen, and made sure each step was feasible.
We realized we wanted to run a company in an industry that we knew better and could get easy access to product feedback. Since we are all going through college and have used the current marketplaces, Vezzy fits that objective.
Are you funded or bootstrapped?
At this time, our CEO Eric Yang is supporting Vezzy financially. We are currently looking for venture capital and angel funding.
Who are your main competitors?
There are no individual university marketplace applications. The first type of semi-competitor is an overall market, like Amazon, eBay and Craigslist. We don’t compete against these directly, since most students don’t want to spend more money than needed or meet with strangers. Our main competitor would be the Facebook Buy and Sell Marketplace. However, Facebook’s platform is not designed to serve as a marketplace and has an inefficient UI. In addition, there is a lack of security with Facebook’s marketplace that allows anyone to join and interact. Vezzy allows for safe in-app purchasing, a feature Facebook does not have.
How did you get people to download the app?
We started with incentive download promotions, then by word of mouth. We wanted to share how easy it is to both buy and sell items. For buying, we included quick purchasing ability that is not available on Facebook as well as in-app messaging. For sellers, we have an in-app camera to make it easy to share items.
What are your next steps?
At the moment, we are only available at Emory. Once we secure our next round of funding, we are planning to expand to five other universities: Georgia Tech, Georgia State, University of Georgia, Kennesaw State and Georgia Southern.
Photos provided by Vezzy