When you want to sell something online — whether books, clothes or electronics, eBay has always been your best bet for a secure transaction. However, once the bidding has closed and you have a buyer, it’s up to you to box and ship everything. And on the buying side, returns are equally inconvenient. For some people, these hassles alone are enough to keep them from bothering to sell altogether. And as a result, they’re missing out on an opportunity to make some extra cash. But what if there was site for buying and selling that was hyper local? After realizing this opportunity, Northeastern student Amaan Udhas decided to build this kind of eBay alternative. After all, with so many dating apps restricted to locals, why shouldn’t there be a marketplace that operates within a certain distance as well?
Thus, Orbit Marketplace, through which users can buy and sell things in a 25-mile radius, was born. Udhas brought on a handful of friends — eight total — to work on this endeavor. And since launching in the App Store less than a month ago, Orbit has already garnered more than 500 users and a 5-star rating from 19 reviews.
Udhas says that what differentiates Orbit from existing buying and selling apps is the social, people-centric elements. For example, users can follow their friends and favorite stores, use hashtags to describe their listings, keep tabs on their selling via the Discovery Feed. Every user has an @username, profile and photo so you know who you’re dealing with, and all buyers and sellers give each other star ratings after each transaction. On the seller’s end, the process is pretty simple, because you can list an item, chat with buyers, and receive payment, all in one place. The products on Orbit can range from a designer watch, to an antique couch or an Apple TV. According to Udhas, the most popular categories have been furniture, electronics and clothing. Don’t see what you were searching for on Orbit? Just add it to your wishlist, and you’ll get a notification when it becomes available near you, and in the price range you set for your budget.
“I think what really lacked in the marketplace of these apps was safety and focus on the people using them,” Udhas told me in an email. “I took a few cues from existing social media platforms to create a UI that felt like a social media platform for selling things to people near you.”
Now, Udhas has been focused on growing the user base and tweaking the features. In fact, he’s taking a break from classes at Northeastern and even turned down a final interview for a position at KPMG, New York to pursue Orbit full-time. Since then, the startup has received $150,000 in angel funding. Udhas is currently seeking office space in Boston for the team to work out of this summer. Additionally, he’s beginning to strategize how his startup can be tailored to small businesses — home-run and one-of-a-kind boutiques that might benefit from setting up a virtual shop on Orbit.
Screenshot via Orbit Marketplace.