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Three men at SellShed converted their love for shopping into a business that will give TradeMe a run for its money

Within a week of launching its mobile app, SellShed has had 4,000 international downloads.

Folks from as far as Italy, Mongolia, USA, UK, and those from Fiji and Australia to name a few, are testing out the new social trading app which can be downloaded free from Apple iTunes.

Sellshed.co.nz is not quite a TradeMe or Ebay yet, but it intends to hit the globe up and running quickly.

In the beginning was the Kiwi garage 

In typical Kiwi fashion, the company began in a garage in Mt Maunganui in 2013.

Its three founders are Brendan and Peter Howell, and Vince Edwards, who are active online buyers and sellers of goods. The Howells are marketing folks while Edwards is a web developer with 20 years of experience.

Peter says: “We basically love shopping online, who doesn’t these days? As we made more trades, we noticed the fees for online auction and classified sites start adding up, not only that, it seems they keep putting their fees up.

“We decided there must be a better way, so started brainstorming and coming up with new ideas for online trading.”

The trio set out to build a shopping mecca of their own — an online and mobile trading platform that is fast and where the core shopping functions will be “always free”.

“After drinking way too many coffees, eating way too many potato chips, and making some very hard to read drawings, SellShed was born!” he says.

Key features

Users can log onto the SellShed platform from their Facebook or access the site through their mobile phones. Since the launch, there has been 600 listings on the site.

What is a unique feature of the site, according Peter, is the ability for users to list “wanted” items on the site.

“We have used EverEdge IP to conduct a search on the possibility of patenting this feature,” Peter says, adding there isn’t anything like this around.

The three have been working in their day jobs to keep the venture going. It wasn’t until three months ago that SellShed became a full-time endeavour.

Shed 10, table tennis

From the garage, the trio moved into their very own warehouse and office at The Mount which they called Shed 10.

“When we moved in, the first things we bought were a pool table, table tennis table and an old home gym for $190. After that we figured we should get some desks and a couple of computers,” Peter says.

The platform is targeting anyone who likes to trade. Its philosophy is to keep things simple – so the non-techie folks can warm to it. Peter says the key is making things simple so that users can easily buy and sell, make swaps, or do part sale and part offer. Buyers can get notifications of items or products they have interest in. The site also actively encouragers traders to directly interact with each other, rather than trying to prevent exchanges.

Revenue will be derived from advertising. Peter says two corporates have indicated interest in advertising. “We haven’t really been focussing on getting advertising revenues. Our focus has been on building the platform.”

But to move ahead, the company needs to get investors to fund its development, he says.

“We have come to stage where, to move ahead, we need to build our listing, we need to add on developers, we need more admin staff. With our current team, we only have certain capacity. We are going to need capital to expand globally. So far, we have been funding this ourselves.”

SellShed currently employs 7 local staff and has plans to increase this number to over 20 as uptake of the app expands internationally. 

Loves peanut sauce, tennis, taichi, stockmarkets, and cool entrepreneurs – not necessarily in that order. In her previous reincarnations, she was an intranet worker bee at Mercer HR Consulting, a Reuters worker ant, and a NZ Herald mule.

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