Sold Brings its Used Electronics Sales to Android, Expects $1 Million in First-Year SalesSeptember 24, 2013
by Erin Griffith
Boston-based Sold (which includes a period in its name for SEO purposes), launched its app April with an undisclosed amount of backing from investors like Google Ventures, Greylock Partners, Matrix Partners, and Boston Seed. In the first 90 days, the service sold enough used electronics through its service to predict $1 million in first-year sales.
The service works as such: Users tell Sold about electronics they’re wishing to unload. Sold verifies that the electronics are real, and Sold finds a buyer. A box shows up at the seller’s house, the item is then shipped off to the buyer. The seller gets paid, and poof, transaction is done. It’s automated peer-to-peer commerce, with the goal of taking out all of the annoying parts of photographing, listing, selling, and shipping your item.
Even the many clothing resale sites out there are starting to offer some form of this white label service to make up for the reality that most people are just too lazy to sell their own stuff online. (See also: Catherine Keener’s “We Sell Your Stuff on Ebay Store” in “The 40 Year Old Virgin.”) Sold carries 2,000 items, focused on electronics like phones, expensive headphones, laptops and cameras, as well as watches, shoes and purses.
The sales all happen within Sold’s iOS app. Today, the company launches its Android version.
Sold’s secret sauce, according to co-founder Tony DeVincenzi, is its verification algorithm which allows the company to avoid taking on inventory like its large competitor Gazelle. Also based in Boston, Gazelle has raised $46 million from Venrock, RockPort Capital Partners, Physic Ventures, and Craton Equity Partners.
Sold’s algorithms use photos, screengrabs and identification numbers to confirm that an item is what the user says it is.
“We have a categorical understanding of what an item is and its attributes,” DeVincenzi says, “because we have a giant data structure of what makes items real or fraudulent. So we ask very specific questions.” Often Sold asks users to take a screengrab with the unit they’re selling, which Sold can verify. Users are required to link up their bank account, phone number and home address to sell anything, so DeVincenzi says, “it’s more than willy-nilly signing up for a service.”
“We have seen a very low percentage of bad actors,” he says.
Beyond the inventory issue, Sold says it wins comparable prices for used items to eBay, but Sold prices include the cost of shipping, packaging, insurance and PayPal fees. An iPad Mini that went for $192 on Sold cost $213 on eBay. A Macbook Retina went for $1784 on Sold and $1780 on eBay. Sold users get paid within four days, and Sold takes a 5 to 15 percent service fee. The priciest item sold thus far has been an $8,000 watch, DeVincenzi says.
Today the company launches its Android app, which is available here. The next place for expansion, once Android and iOS are stable and running smoothly, is international. Sold will likely start in Canada, DeVincenzi says.