I don’t know about you, but I look around every day and think to myself, “How did I get surrounded by all this stuff?” I mean, I’m practically drowning in clutter. Books, electronics, dog toys, shoes, “memorabilia,” appliances, office supplies, stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Our society is so dependent on material things that we even have reality television making fun of us. But if you think Hoarders is just a show, according to Wikipedia it actually describes 2-5% of adults, especially the elderly.
So we see a building trend online (especially in the self-help niche) to live in a more minimalist fashion. Get more out of life by purging your stuff and finding the real personal rewards to appreciate. Easy for them to say! What if my stuff doesn’t deserve to be trashed or donated? Craigslist is my only option and it’s time-consuming, creepy, and full of cheap low-ballers. Well, David Geiger is all too familiar with this process, having moved around the country 7 times in the past 10 years. So he took the idea of a simpler process to purge what you don’t need over to a Startup Weekend gathering in Columbus, Ohio, last February.
I caught up with Geiger to find out more about his vision of this app and where it is in the post-Startup Weekend stages of development.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind creating the Purge app?
David Geiger: In the past 10 years, I’ve moved 7 times, and I realized that there is no simple way to get rid of my stuff. During a recent move from a 4-bedroom in the ‘burbs to a 1-bedroom in San Francisco, it took me an entire day to snap photos and post all of my belongings to Craigslist. I learned that selling items online is effective, but it’s also a pain. It’s a hassle and downright creepy at times. I figured there had to be a simpler and safer way to sell your stuff online, and this is why we created Purge.
Tech Cocktail: What was it like building a product like this out of Startup Weekend? Any advantages or challenges to joining the event for those who have an idea?
Geiger: Intense, but never tiring. We put in 20-hour days, and I don’t recall ever being tired. The advantages and the challenges were two sides of the same coin – a LOT of positive energy. We had a super-talented team of passionate people all working toward the same goal, and we had fun doing it. At times, we had so many ideas that the energy needed to be focused like a laser. Simplification and progress were keys to our success. With the 54-hour time constraint, “done” was more important than “perfect.”
Tech Cocktail: You’ve reached an interesting point between app idea and beta product, and now it’s time for fundraising. Why did you decide to start with a Fundable campaign?
Geiger: I met Wil Schroter at Startup Weekend, and 15 seconds into my 30-second Purge elevator pitch I could see a light bulb go off in his head. The moment Wil told me about Fundable, I was interested. Raising capital for a consumer-focused iPhone app like Purge in Columbus, Ohio, is a challenge, since most of the the prominent VC and angel investors are on the coast. However, there is no shortage of talent and energy here in Ohio. Fundable is a great fit for Purge. Both companies’ concepts are highly viral and focused on providing users with an unmatched user experience.
Tech Cocktail: Once you actually have Purge in the app store, you have an interesting challenge of a very wide market to spread the word to. How are you focusing your marketing efforts?
Geiger: You are right, the market is huge! Craigslist gets over 50 million unique visitors a day, and numerous startups, including Airbnb, have been successful catering to a particular niche of Craigslist users. Purge is laser-focused on creating a SIMPLE and SAFE user experience. We are committed to creating a fun and engaging mobile app for people looking for a simpler and safer way to get rid of their stuff.
Tech Cocktail: Why is Purge going to be a better option for selling your stuff?
Geiger: Because we all carry the solution in our pocket. Purge allows you to sell your stuff by simply snapping a photo with your phone and eliminating the hassle associated with using a digital camera and computer to post items online. Purge’s Marketplace helps eliminate the creepy email responses by allowing users to create their own trusted social marketplace with their trusted networks on Facebook and Twitter.
Tech Cocktail: What’s the first thing you’d “purge” when the app is up and running?
Gieger: I have this adorable Labradoodle puppy that I threaten on a daily basis when he doesn’t obey. But in all seriousness, I have a wine fridge that I never use, and I keep moving around with me. It was a gift from my brother. Sorry bro.
To learn more about Purge and how you can help them launch, check out their campaign on Fundable.