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Mobile Marketplace Carousell Launches In Singapore

If you're an eBay or HardwareZone forum junkie who regularly uses those sites to sell unwanted items or hunt for pre-loved items, check this new mobile app out: Carousell is a mobile marketplace that connects buyers and sellers socially. Aside from being an easy way to list products for sale (users simply take pictures of an item, beautifies them, set a description and price) or finding what you want (buyers scroll through various sale categories such as 'Photography', 'For Him', 'Handmade', 'For Her' etc), Carousell  has social interactive features that, well, entices you to buy more. Borrowing interactive features from apps like Instagram, on Carousell you can “Like”, “Comment” and “Share” items for sale, as well as “Follow” other users with similar tastes (a neat form of user curation). There's Facebook and Twitter integration too, of course. Actual transactions are also transparent yet effective. When a buyer indicates interest to make a purchase, Carousell notifies the seller and both can then enter into a private chat session within the app to discuss the specifics of the transaction. This occurs without the exchange of private information such as contact numbers or email addresses, making it more private (and sticky to Carousell). “The idea for Carousell emerged when I looked around my room and realized there is a lot of valuable stuff that I do not use anymore. Although I had wanted to sell items for several months, I found it troublesome to put them up for sale on the existing online marketplace channels," says Quek Siu Rui, who set up Carousell with Marcus Tan and Lucas Ngoo. "During Startup Weekend Singapore in March 2012, I discussed the idea of an easy-to-use mobile marketplace with my friends. When they loved the idea as much as I did, we decided to apply for seed funding from the NUS Enterprise Innovation Practicum grant, and got started." The three friends are NUS students and alumni, who caught the entrepreneurial bug while on the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) program. Armed with S$7,000 Innovation Practicum funding, Siu Rui, Marcus and Lucas developed the iPhone app, while hot-desking at business incubator Plug-in@Blk71. The Carousell co-founders aim to build up traction and the user base for their app before seeking formal fund raising to help them grow the company. Carousell is currently available on the iPhone,  but the developers are working on versions for other mobile platforms later this year.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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