Tales of Startup Inspiration: How Having a Baby Inspired My New Startup

Photo by Gyeongroe Kim
I just recently became a dad to an incredibly adorable baby girl.
Several months before our new sunshine was born, my wife assigned the tasks of getting large baby items to me. At the same time, my long-time colleague William told me about those buy and sell groups on Facebook where he bought several such baby items for his little one. So I went on Facebook, joined many such groups and after a not so long time, I found right carseat I wanted and an almost new baby cot for pretty much half the normal retail price. Yet, at the same time the process of buying such items on Facebook felt rather cumbersome. Having been in the mobile app industry for over a decade (way before the word “app” was invented), I immediately knew that this could be done better.
A split-second later, the idea of swapit was born.
When you analyze the way people trade on such Facebook groups, you can easily see that there are several points that feel very 麻煩 (sort of cumbersome) for you actually want to do: buying or selling items to locals; quickly and easily.

1. Communication

First off, communication is an issue when trading through Facebook groups because you’re usually buying from or selling to people you are not “friends” with. Therefore, your messages go into the “Other” folder instead of your “Inbox”. You’re not receiving any notifications about new messages and that makes the process of buying or selling really slow.

2. Immediacy

Secondly, it is important to have a high degree of immediacy when a new item is posted. Let’s take baby cots for example: They sell within minutes after posting them, but Facebook notifies you of new items only every 15 minutes or so. On top of that, such notifications lump multiple posts together into one message, making it quite useless to actually see what’s happening.

3. Know the Location

Thirdly, the location of an item that is on sale is not known. Even if it’s written as “text” into the post, it is not precise enough. Say for example, you are interested in a chest drawer that is not particularly an item you want to go across town for – especially, when you don’t have a car. Wouldn’t it be neat if you get notified instantaneously when someone two buildings down the road sells a chest drawer? Such combination of items locations and notifications is not available through Facebook.

4. Search and Filters

Last but definitely not least, are full-text search and filters. While it is possible to search a Facebook group by text, that search is rather limited in scope. There also no filters available at this point which makes it very hard to choose a certain category of items and only look for those kinds of items (e.g. furniture).

Swapit – The Solution

Swapit has been built to solve these four particular issues and make it easy to buy and sell second hand items in Hong Kong. There are currently over 112,000 English-speaking people in Hong Kong that trade in these Facebook groups. To make their life easier, we built swapit with direct private messaging, immediate push notifications for new items, and deep integration of location-based services as well as sophisticated search and filters – into a beautiful and dead-simple app.
Have you joined the swapit beta yet? It’s invite only, but StartupsHK readers are guaranteed to get in. Just request your invite here.
source from StartUPsHK