Every day you barter with people, even though you might not be aware of it. Every trade in your fantasy football league, those times when you bring beer to a party, and cooking your friends dinner so you can avoid doing the dishes: all of this is bartering in action.
However, most of us are turned off to it because it has become such an integral part of life, almost like breathing. Nate Llorando and Jim Ji co-founded My Trade Cart to re-open our eyes to the world of bartering.
“When I was young, I was always trading basketball cards with my friends,” says Llorando. “One day, later in my life, a buddy asked for a ride to a job interview. After I initially had said no, he sweetened the pot with a tank of gas and a carwash. In that instant I was taken back to my trading card days, and the idea to start a dedicated trading platform was born.”
My Trade Cart is purely dedicated to offering users the opportunity to trade items or services with people in their network of friends. It operates as a fusion of eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook, providing a circle of trust for users with a comprehensive ratings system.
The ratings and feedback system is crucial to My Trade Cart’s survival in that it helps eliminate the obvious issue inherent with getting stiffed. My Trade Cart users are graded and ranked based off of their trades: if you get negative feedback, your overall rank falls off dramatically, and users will not want to trade with you again.
Additionally, the open-ended nature of the platform and creativity helps separate My Trade Cart from the competition. Llorando and Ji purposely designed My Trade Cart to operate without a lot of restrictions as to what you can trade.
“We want simplicity above all with My Trade Cart, and that opens up the doors for users to stretch the bounds of their creativity,” says Llorando. “It is totally up to you if you want to barter or trade for certain services and items.”
The trading is not category-based. If you want to trade for a book, you can trade an older iPod, cafeteria meals, or tutoring services for that book: any combination of services and goods can be mixed and matched for trading purposes.
And when you extend the concept at work here deeper, you see that it goes so far beyond simple trading and has real world merit. One such example is college students who have not had semester loans processed who can then trade for their text books.
Llorando and Ji officially launched their platform out of beta last Monday and have already acquired 300 users. In the short term they will focus on expanding their platform to college students, but they will not stop until they reach the big time: celebrities, athletes, and charities.
“As long as our users stay creative, this idea will catch fire and burn wildly,” says Llorando.
My Trade Cart was featured at Tech Cocktail’s Downtown Vegas Mixer & Startup Showcase on September 12th.