L.A. Stories: HipSwap Tries to Take the Creepy out of Craigslist (Video)
Last week, I visited Los Angeles to get a gander at some of the many digital companies that are doing some interesting things down south of Silicon Valley.
First stop: HipSwap, a community-based marketplace that is now in 14 U.S. cities after initial tests in Los Angeles and New York City.
Its goal is to de-creep the experience — because no matter how it’s done online, local buying and selling still has a lot of glitches. Using a visual approach (think Pinterest), with hipster social hooks (think Airbnb) and focusing on location (hmm, perhaps think Foursquare), complete with delivery in some cities, HipSwap is hoping to differentiate itself from big players in the space, such as Craigslist and eBay.
The app-heavy HipSwap allows anyone with stuff, including boutique merchants with quirky stuff to move, to quickly snap photos of items, price them and then — presumably — sell. Payment is made via PayPal or credit card, with HipSwap in between the buyer and seller, to ease the transaction’s typical awkwardness.
Because it is local, the items are varied, from trendy baby strollers to funky furniture to antique sewing machines. And, because it is in the L.A. area, HipSwap is also pushing celebrity fare, with a charitable “Shop My Closet” marketplace and video series, which recently included Kyle Richards from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
The Santa Monica, Calif. start-up recently closed $1.1 million seed funding from a number of prominent investors, such as Founders Fund, Greycroft Partners, as well as former Microsoft exec — and early Pinterest angel — Hank Vigil and Mahalo President Jason Rapp.
Here’s a video interview I did with co-founder and CEO Rob Kramer about the interesting retail concept: