We first wrote about Taap.it, a NYC based startup, when it was named “Social Listing,” just days after it launched at this spring’s Tech Crunch Disrupt. The mobile application connects local buyers and sellers in a Craigstlist like fashion, albeit with items both searchable and sellable by location.
The new app for both iPhone and Android is refreshing local classified advertisements by enabling users to sell anything, socially, locally and in realtime from their mobile phone. Co-founders Duy Huynh and Ha Tran presented at the New York Tech Meetup in early July along with Sonar and SnapGoods. In early August, the app crossed an impressive $2.4 million dollars in posted transaction in just under 2 months.
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Whether you want to sell your bike, your girlfriend’s pet rabbit or sublet your apartment, Taap.it makes it instant and easy to do so. Simply click the camera button in the app to snap a photo of the item, set a price, write a brief description and send it to nearby Taap.it users, as well as Facebook and Twitter. To buy an item, turn on the app and browse nearby classifieds. Simply tap the screen to call a seller and arrange a meetup. We caught up with Product Manager Duy Huynh and Marketing Specialist Jesus Perez for a brief interview to discuss the rebranding and future direction of the potential next Craigslist after the jump. (Usually I’d write “Craigslist killer” but that’s not really appropriate…)
CBM: So, why the rebranding?
Taap.it: Social Listings was a very broad name with no clear definition on what we are trying to accomplish. When you hear the name ‘social listings’ a million things can go through your head and you still couldn’t figure out what we did. Taap.it on the other hand goes well with the simplicity of the app. Taap.it is fast and easy to use, and we feel that the name embodies these characteristics. It also plays well with the picture snapping function as you just have to “taap” a button and your product/service will instantly be posted on Taap.it. Plus is a pretty cool name, short and funny. We also have a big focus on “business users”. Different from Craigslist who focuses on C2C, we are very much focus on B2C, and help local businesses to run businesses easier, faster, and cheaper. With a tons of new features such as “mobile storefront”, “short unique store mobile url”, etc, we were able to setup mobile storefront for a tons of business owners who are very non-technical. All they need to know in order to setup their unique store url (taap.it/mystore) is to know how to take a photo from a camera phone.
CBM: Tell me about your team, and what it’s like working at a startup in NYC right now.
Taap.it: Our team consists of 35 people, employees and interns from local NYC colleges. We have the Product Team of 10 people, whose main duties consist of developing our iPhone app, Android app, and the website. This team is led by our CTO, Tien Nguyen. We also have Business Development Team of 20 people, whose main duties consist of contacting local businesses. Our business development specialists call and email local businesses in NYC, booking meetings and demos with these businesses, and generally encourage them to use Taap.it. We also have a Social Media team, who is in charge of our social media accounts as well as contacting and following up with the press. They create and update all the contents on our social accounts and try to come up with ways to increase our followers.
CBM: What is it like working at a startup in NYC right now?
Taap.it: Working in NYC as a startup definitely has its pros and cons. If you become relevant in NYC the rest of the country will welcome you with open arms. The amount of opportunities, events/meetups hosted in the city that allows startups to make a name for themselves, is endless. Every week you can find 2 or 3 events geared towards your startup that you can attend and promote. If you attend the right events for your startup it can become really successful, if you don’t it can fail really fast. And failing can be easily obtainable if you don’t differentiate your startup from the pack. You will come across a handful of similar startups who want it just as bad, if you don’t show the public why they should choose you over them you will be lost and will never recover.
CBM: How do you see yourself as a better version of Craigslist? How are you better than other competitors out there?
Taap.it: Simplicity and our geo-tagging function make us better than Craigslist. Using CL a user has to take a picture of the item, upload it to their computer and from the computer upload it to CL. With Taap.it all a user needs is his phone to snap a picture of the item, write a description and post it instantly in a matter of seconds. Our geo-tagging function allows buyers to find deals based on their location. How many times has a consumer found an item on CL, had to travel far just to see that the item is not what they were hoping it will be? Taap.it takes care of this problem by allowing users to view deals closer to them first and giving them the option to see items depending on how far they are willing to travel.
The main value that Taap.it wants to bring to local NYC community is actually to provide a platform for businesses to reach local consumers. This is where we are very different from Craigslist or any other startups like Zaarly, Milo, EggDrop, or Goshi. Every business can benefit from a simple and efficient way to attract new clients. With Taap.it, a business owner can advertise his/her products or services and watch it’s enterprise grow with a snap of a picture phone. With an iPhone or Android mobile a business owner can instantly share his/her goods and/or specialty with nearby buyers in their community. Running a business is strenuous. Dealing with everything from administration to employees to customer satisfaction can take a toll on anyone. Taap.it diminishes some of the difficulty by allowing businesses to market with a simple tool. This helps businesses raise awareness in a matter of minutes.
With Taap.it a business can do more than just post ads:
- Mobile Storefront: Over the past 10 years e-commerce has blossomed. For a business to have success it must have a website. Taap.it allows a business to create a mobile storefront. Where it can host all it’s goods and services in one place. Consumers benefit because they can easily view and contact a business directly.
- Social Media: Reaching consumers has evolved over the years. It really helps to interact with them through a computer screen and smartphones. Through Taap.it, a business can share it’s products and services through Twitter, Facebook, Delicious and Digg making user interaction much easier.
- Geo-tagging: Creating a consumer base in your local neighborhood is critical to the success of a business. Taap.it’s geo-tagging function pin-points the exact location of a business. It allows consumers to find businesses in their interest closest to them. This increases local customer traffic for the business.
“With very little to no marketing, we have crossed 2 million dollars in posted transactions in New York City alone just under 2 months,” said Duy Huynh. “We are on the right track now to achieve at least 10 million in posted transactions by the end of August, as we are expanding to other cities in the U.S. and international cities as well.”