This installment of the TZ Startup Hotseat is with Jeff Morris Marketing Strategist with Zaarly. Zaarly recently won Startup Weekend LA and have been on fire ever since. Let’s put Jeff in the Hot Seat and see how he does. First however, I would like to point out that LA is 3rd on the list of rollout cities. Comment below and tweet the heck out of this article and maybe we can bump LA higher on the list!! Also sign up for the beta HERE
Give Us the Fast Pitch
Zaarly is a proximity based, real-time, buyer powered market where buyers make an offer for an immediate need and sellers cash in on their local marketplace. If you’ve ever said, “I’d pay for that” Zaarly is for you. If you’ve ever said “I want money”, Zaarly is for you.
What made you decide to begin working Zaarly?
I watched Bo Fishback (CEO) and Erik Koester (COO) pitch Zaarly at Startup Weekend LA. I was living in San Francisco at the time, and followed the pitch sessions on Twitter – so I didn’t actually watch the pitch until it was released on YouTube.
When I watched the pitch video, I immediately realized that Bo and Erik had invented a transaction model that would create a new economy of services and products. I have worked at several “marketplace” startups, and their concept just clicked in a million ways.
On that note, If you’re passionate about startup culture, Zaarly’s Startup Weekend LA pitch is a perfect example of “how to pitch quirky.” When I saw Bo in his backwards trucker hat, I knew Zaarly would be quirky – and that personality encourages original thought from product to marketing.
What is the market opportunity?
We are building an infinite marketplace for items and services that literally does not exist in the mobile commerce space. For the consumer, you will be able to negotiate with vendors and businesses and actually name your price.
We keep using the phrase “live life on your own terms” –– and we really believe in that attitude. Our platform will determine a real “market value” for hyper-local goods and services, and we are being approached with new use cases for this model every day.
For the fulfiller, Zaarly offers a lucrative employment opportunity. If you need to earn money, Zaarly will be a resource to earn money at any given moment. We want a user to open our application and view millions of dollars that can be earned.
Fulfillers will market themselves like traditional businesses. We will encourage our users to build their own personal brands.The best fulfillers will earn reputations and brand equity through successful transactions – and that will grow their Zaarly business.
How big is your team?
Zaarly has more than a dozen employees on our broader team. We opened an office in San Francisco last week and are adding developers to the team. Almost every employee at Zaarly left their jobs and started working the very next day.
My co-workers made awesome sacrifices to be here. We’re from Omaha, Kansas City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and many other cities.
We’re selling a hyper-local product and in actuality, we’re a hyper-local team. We’ll activate locations faster because our team is so geographically balanced –– and we’ll have no problem finding couches to crash on when we’re traveling.
Are you Funded? How did your company get its initial funding? How much funding do you currently have?
We have raised $1mm since winning Startup Weekend LA. We have an phenomenal group of investors that includes Ashton Kutcher, Felicis Ventures, Paul Buchheit, Bill Lee, Naval Ravikant, and Lightbank — the venture fund created by Groupon’s founders.
What is coming up next? Your goals, new products, new directions?
On the product side, we will launch the iPhone application in May and we will announce more product features at that time. Sign up for the beta and we’ll give you more details on www.zaarly.com.
In terms of direction, we are passionate about building local communities who will evangelize our hyper-local marketplace. We have volunteers in every city who are offering to become advocates of Zaarly – we are calling them Zaarvangelists.
The idea that we have Zaarvangelists during pre-launch is humbling, and it proves that the product has struck a nerve. To support this passion, we want every city to have Zaarly soon – that’s our immediate goal.
Zaarly is also becoming a verb amongst our early supporters. We keep hearing the phrase “I’d Zaarly that!” When Zaarly is a verb in a few thousand languages, we’ll be close to reaching the critical mass that we want to achieve.
Zaarly did a run at SXSW and Jeff included a few examples of actual use cases from the event:
- I’d pay $ 50 for a Case of beer delivered to my room in One Hour
- I’d pay $ 100 for Access to today’s Keynote in 5 hours
- I’d pay $ 10 for Coffee delivered to me in line in 30 mins
- I’d pay $ 40 for A table for 4 at El Arroyo in 45 mins
- I’d pay $ 100 for An hour in a conference room in Austin in 4 hours
- I’d pay $ 20 for a guest pass for a gym (next couple days) in 10 hours
- I’d pay $ 1000 for Access to the AngelList Party in 24 hours
- I’d pay $ 40 for someone to get me the ipad2 on march 11 day @sxsw
- I’d pay $20 for a iPhone phone charger in 20 minutes
- I’d pay $100 for original cowboys, boots size 10’
- I’d pay $100 for anyone who can fix my computer in 3 hours
So what do you think? Would you use Zaarly? I know I will once they come to LA.