Bodega: Cross Platform Virtual Marketplace

April 12, 2010

6:00 am

Bodega, an Ann Arbor, Michigan based startup, offers a virtual goods marketplace enabling anyone to buy and sell their virtual goods in a fun environment. If virtual goods are new to you, they are defined by Wikipedia as:

Virtual goods are non-physical objects that are purchased for use in online communities or online games.

Virtual goods are used in both gaming and social networks and some estimate it is a billion dollar industry. Bodega recently launched Bodega Shop on Facebook which is one of the first marketplaces to trade virtual goods from various platforms. For example, you could trade in your virtual currency from one game or social network for Bodega Bills which can then be used to purchase other goods or cashed out. So in essence Bodega is trying to make the Bodega Bill into a universal currency online. Bodega users have the ability to list items with a Buy-It-Now price or a minimum bid price.  To help foster a more fun and competitive environment for our users, they award users points for stimulating market activity, and award with perks as well as medals for accomplishing certain tasks.

Check out the Bodega pitch deck (below) from November 2009.

Bodega was founded by Bill Liao who also was the founder of the popular social network XING and is lead by CEO Mark Sendo who’s experience includes the launch of the first PartyPoker.com pre-paid gift card and A3 Technologies based in Ann Arbor. Mark was also the inventor of a Patent that enables Secure Monetary Transactions Across the Internet with IMX-Solutions.com. In addition, Mark is also the primary inventor for Kidscash.com, a safe, convenient way for kids to shop online without credit cards. Mark is the primary inventor for URturn having discovered a method to award points to users from third party sites. It’s also worth mentioning that Mark had a brush with the SEC back in 1999 when he was convicted of wire fraud, as explained here. Nevertheless, this team understands online transactions which should really help Bodega.

So next time you receive a virtual cupcake on Facebook you might want to trade it in for cash or some other virtual good in Bodega’s virtual marketplace. Or better yet, come meet some of the Bodega team as they are a showcased startup at the TECH cocktail Detroit mixer this week kicking off the FutureMidwest Conference.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups.

Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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