Local Marketplace Zaarly Raises $14 Million; Adds Meg Whitman as Director

Zaarly has secured $14 million in financing, and, as part of the round, has added former eBay CEO Meg Whitman — who just took the role of chief executive at Hewlett-Packard — to its board.

The six-month-old San Francisco start-up says the funding will go toward developing a local marketplace that helps people find goods and services that people nearby are willing to sell.

Zaarly Co-Founders Ian Hunter, Bo Fishback and Eric Koester (from left to right).

For example, someone might post that they are willing to pay $100 for someone to fix their light switch; or $50 for someone to take them to the airport; or $20 for cowboy boots for a Halloween costume.

Consumers can look online or download an iPhone or Android app to alert them of new listings based on their location.

“It’s the opposite of every other marketplace,” said Bo Fishback, Zaarly’s CEO and co-founder.

The company’s first round was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sands Capital Ventures with CMEA, Venture51, CrunchFund, Marc Ecko and Artists & Instigators also participating. The company had previously raised angel financing in March from Ashton Kutcher, Ron Conway and other prominent investors.

While the model is different from Craigslist and eBay, it shares similarities with such start-ups as Uber or Airbnb. Uber connects people looking for a ride with a private car service within five to 10 minutes, tapping into the glut of town cars at any given time during the day. Airbnb connects travelers with locals who are willing to rent out rooms in their homes.

Fishback said Zaarly’s goal is to host all kinds of deals, and that he could envision someday partnering with specialists such as Uber or Airbnb.

The company has 30 employees and plans to ramp up to 50 fairly quickly.

Fishback doesn’t have a clear sense of how the company will make money in the future; instead, the company is focused on signing up as many customers as possible. Right now, it’s free if you conduct the transaction in person by cash or check. If you opt to pay by credit card, Zaarly charges a convenience fee.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald