10 Startups to Watch: Zaarly
Zaarly co-founder Bo Fishback found the inspiration for his company waiting for a flight at an airport, frustrated that he had no way to offer a crowd of passengers money to switch seats with him. "The idea behind Zaarly is that everything around you is for sale and nothing is off limits," Mr. Fishback said. "At its core, Zaarly is the ultimate demand engine and anyone who sells stuff or services wants to be on the other end of that funnel."
Zaarly is a social marketplace designed to get users what they're looking for, whether that be goods, services or experiences. Users can also offer up their own services or goods into the local ether and wait for someone to bite -- kind of a "reverse Groupon" or "reverse Craigslist." And as Mr. Fishback said, anything goes -- from a user offering money for restaurant reservations to another user selling interpretation services while traveling. Mr. Fishback said that one very motivated seller of services has earned $5,000 in five weeks.
Zaarly's investors are impressive -- they include Mike Arrington and Ashton Kutcher -- and the company has been getting tons of press, but Mr. Fishback believes that this kind of two-way commerce site can outlast the hype .
"To brands and advertisers Zaarly means access to the local peer-to-peer marketplace," he said, adding that he's been approached by several big-box retailers to see how Zaarly technology can work for them. "For any company selling products [that ] needs services for that product, we can bundle that for them," Mr. Fishback said. "We've been approached by ticketing agencies and event organizers who want to get access to these local economies and communities."