Vancity Entrepreneurs: Tradyo

My mom and brother are constantly accusing me for being a hoarder. Although I don’t really agree with them, there are definitely some things that are tough to let go of. Also, sometimes the Craigslist black hole doesn’t work and the person is too far away. I’ll bet my Macbook (really good condition, hit me up if you want to buy) that others have similar pains to mine. Our featured startup of the week, Tradyo, solves our pains by making it easier to buy/sell goods in our area with credible people, and in an easy and seamless way. 

Vancouver native, Gideon Hayden, takes some time to show us how Tradyo does all of the above.

Who are you? Tell us about your business/core idea and how it got started.

Tradyo is a mobile marketplace where people can buy and sell used goods within their communities or given networks. It can act kind of like a pop-up garage sale without having to haul all your stuff onto your lawn. Really simple and easy to use, Tradyo allows you to sell and find all the cool items for grabs in your area. We believed that classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji were outdated, and way too painful for us to suffer through. Mobile afforded us an opportunity to jump into this market and provide a much better service for everyone, taking the pain out of classifieds.

We started at The Next 36, an entrepreneurial program led by some of Canada’s top business and thought leaders. During our time there, we were using classifieds all the time as we had just moved to Toronto. The pain it provided us, inspired us to create something radically better. From there we went to an incubator in Silicon Valley called UpWest Labs, and we just got back to Toronto recently.

What makes you different from Craigslist or any other good and service resale services?

Many things:

  • Mobile first, web second. We think of Tradyo as a mobile platform which means we are able to use location to calculate the closest items to you any time you activate the platform. It also allows you to sell something within seconds using the camera on the phone. The entire process is quick and easy.
  • Real-time communication. On Tradyo, you can chat with the seller or buyer directly on the platform and receive push notifications when someone is interested in your item. No messages get lost in your inbox and you dont get spammed or scammed by random people on the platform. Furthermore, buyers can set up alerts so that they know when the item they’re looking for goes up for sale around them.
  • Safety/Trust. We encourage users to verify themselves using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, so that they behave differently on the platform. Furthermore you can know a little bit more about a person before you meet up with them to exchange a product, and hopefully this will all take the sketchiness factor out of the platform. We’ve seen that it does, users behaviour is drastically different when they actually have an identity.
  • Experience. We all know the Craigslist user experience blows. Ours kicks ass.

What has been the biggest challenge post The Next 36 and did Upwest Labs help overcome it? How would you compare both experiences in terms of learning experiences for you to take forward with Tradyo and as an entrepreneur?

Post N36, building our team was a big challenge. Upwest Labs definitely gave us some credibility, and helped us bring on a few key engineers. 

Both were very different experiences. N36 was a bit more academic, and not as focused on the venture, and Upwest Labs was solely focused on the venture and was based in Silicon Valley. Being there, we learned so much about rate at which companies out of the Valley develop, and the collaborative spirit that exists there. We try to embody that wherever we are now.

People like to trade some pretty cool stuff…but also some really weird or useless things. Since growing Tradyo from inception, what product posts/meetups have got a good reaction out of you and your other co-founder, Eran? On a similar note, what seems to be the most popular Tradyo category in Vancouver (Electronics, Furniture, Books ect)?

Electronics is by far the most popular category on Tradyo. Baby equipment has also been pretty popular, and there are a lot of mothers on the platform. I think the safe and mobile nature of the platform makes Tradyo much more appealing than Craigslist to this demographic, who are willing to trade immediate liquidity for safety.

We have had a few funny items on Tradyo, and of course not everything on there seems to be too useful, like adhesive foam or black pipe cleaners, but you never know who might find value in the most obscure items. The other day we got an email from a user saying how they just bought two sports bras off Tradyo. I probably wouldn’t buy my lingerie off classifieds, but to each their own.

How does this improve the city of Vancouver? What is the real world problem you’re solving?

This provides a simple and easy way for Vancouverites to find use for those items they dont use anymore, instead of throwing them out or letting them sit collecting dust. It is a channel to make money, and obviously has environmental benefits as well. For the city, this type of service can greatly increase the strength of communities and take the pain out of selling second hand.

Advice for other entrepreneurs?

Ship it. You can spend your entire lifetime trying to perfect a piece of software, but in the end you need to validate that there is even a need for what you are building. The only way to truly know and iterate is to ship it, collect the right data and iterate quickly. Strip down your concept to the barebones you need to test the most essential assumptions, and build it from there.

With all the garage sales popping up this summer, I’m going to have to do nothing but smirk at their outdated efforts of spending hours setting up and packing up their used goods that only casual un-targeted consumers come across. Tradyo really makes garage sales look like a thing of the past as now you can simply take photos of what you want to sell, post it through your phone, have a much larger reach, and ultimately use your valuable time in meeting up with people when you know the sale is a done deal. Looking to get rid of some stuff? I bet you’re pretty happy you came across this issue of Vancity Entrepreneurs.

You can follow Tradyo on Twitter and Facebook.

Stay in touch @pauldavidescu

*Vancity Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs or startups that are making Vancouver a better place. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send [email protected] an email explaining why*

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