The story of HappySale started when I was fired from my previous startup. I was one of the founders, and as things happen in these cases, my partner and I had some disagreements: I disagreed with him on the direction of the company, and he disagreed that I should continue working for the company. When I was fired, I spent about two weeks at home, resting and thinking about my next steps. At some point in those two weeks my wife Shelly asked me, again, to sell some used stuff that we have around the house (She already asked me several times in the past months). These items were lying under our bed for several months, since my kids were getting too big to use them: A crib, a feeding chair, some large developmental toys that were no longer in use. This stuff was worth thousands of shekels, but the task of selling them online was too much of a hassle for me do.
My kids, Naomi and Yonatan.
Like any good entrepreneur, instead of doing what I was told by my wife I started exploring the reasons why I feel so resistant towards this task. The answer, let’s be honest, was laziness. And like most chores, our laziness to execute them comes from a horrible user experience: In our case, in order to sell things online I need to take photos, compress them, upload them, enter all the possible details of items in that category, add a description etc. It takes about 10 minutes to create a single listing like that on most classified boards and marketplaces. After that you also should track that sale, bump it up to so people notice your item, and then remove it when you want people to stop nagging you about it.
I started asking some US friends of mine what they do when they want to sell something online. The two questions I asked were: “Do you have things in your house that you would like to sell?” and “Why don’t you sell it?”. The answers were all the same: Too much hassle.
I was right about the same time that my son fell in love with Toy Story movies. He watched them repeatedly, as kids can do. There is one scene at the end of Toy Story 3 that for me was very touching: Andy goes to college, and just before he leaves, he gives all his toys to young girl that lives down the street from his house. The scene where grown up Andy shows the girl how to play with his toys, and explains the individual personalities of each toy, was an enlighting moment for me. The realization that despite the fact we all love to buy new stuff, it can be even more powerful to buy an item that has a story behind it. A history.
The final inspiration to HappySale’s vision came from what is commonly knows as the “Delivering Happiness” philosophy. I think it was originally conceived by the founder of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. I heard about it first from a friend of mine, that told me that the reason Amazon bought Zappos was because of its corporate DNA rather than because of its spectacular sales and revenues. I started reading and watching presentations Tony Hsieh gave over the years, and fell in love with this philosophy and how it was implemented in business practices for Zappos.
So with these understanding and with the idea of a simple application for posting stuff on social networks, I approached David Kariv. David and I go way back. We worked together on Vgames back in ’99. We were both executives at MSN together and we worked again in the digital commerce division at Amdocs. When I first told him about HappySale, he lit up. “I just had the exact problem”, he said. Aparently he wanted to sell his crib on Facebook. He decided to launch a test campaign and spend 5$ to see how effective advertising was. The crib sold quickly, but for David this was proof that social ads are more effective than any listing he can post. It is, however, far beyond the reach of common users. We realized that one of the future goals of HappySale should be the integration with ad platforms that will enable every user to promote their items for no more than a dollar. Just like in-app purchases.
The next step was to build our team. Reem Sherman, who was a great programmer and product manager joined after a beer talk we had, and I shared the story of what we’re trying to build. Reem and I go way back too. When he was 15, he wrote video game reviews for me at Vgames.co.il. Apparently, he was also an amazing HR guy: Connected to people all over and knows on friendly basis some of the best programmers around. Several days later, he arranged a meeting with Tamir Shomer, who is probably the best coder I have ever met. When you hear about 10x people, this is the guy. Smart, capable, fearless and stops at nothing to achieve his goals. The founding team was in place. The plan was to build a prototype and then raise some funds based on that prototype.
So what is HappySale all about?
- Frictionless e-commerce:
Buying and selling things has been a pillar of the internet industry since it existed. We are aware of that. We love shopping online and we are looking for ways to make it better, smoother, and with minimal headaches. This is the SIMPLE side of HappySale.
- E-Commerce 2.0:
With HappySale, we start to deal with the friction of SELLING rather than BUYING. We want to create a platform where anyone with a mobile phone can sell their stuff online easily. We refer to this as E-Commerce 2.0. When web 2.0 was introduced, users were suddenly empowered to create the web rather than consume the web. With E-Commerce 2.0 this revolution comes to E-Commerce. User are now empowered to sell and become micro-merchants wherever they are, any time they want. This is the PERSONAL side of HappySale.
- Sell it with a story:
We love to buy to buy new items, but we are even more excited when something we buy has a story behind it. Stories are emotional. Stories are viral. While HappySale reduces the friction around CREATING a listing or sale page, we are asking users to SHARE the story of their items. We want the people who buy these items to know that someone owned them, loved them and cherished them. This is the VIRAL side of HappySale.
Happy Sale: Simple, Personal and Viral.