Denver Startup Grabio Takes On Craigslist in the Classified Space

November 24, 2012

10:00 am

They may still be in startup phase, but the Grabio team is taking on Craigslist without fear. The Denver-based company is setting out to offer an alternative to the local classifieds giant with increased transparency and safety.

Grabio CEO Horatiu Boeriu shares insight about his team’s fearless approach to starting up.

Tech Cocktail:  Who is Grabio trying to reach?

Boeriu :  “Grabio targets the hyper-local classifieds space, particularly the people and businesses buying and selling in their neighborhood. Grabio also targets the frustrated users of Craigslist, who are tired of its lack of transparency, safety, mobility, location-awareness, and time consuming search.”

Tech Cocktail:  What inspired you to start Grabio?

Boeriu :  “The inspiration behind Grabio began with the frustration we encountered while using Craigslist over the years. We wanted to create the marketplace of the future where mobile devices and GPS location is at the core of local transactions. We are not only creating an easier way to buy and sell things at your location, but also a safer and more transparent marketplace.”

Tech Cocktail:  What do you enjoy most about working on it?

Boeriu:  “We absolutely love to work on features that improve the discovery process of things around us. We call it ‘frictionless discovery’ with very little input from the user. Push Notifications are also an area where we spend a lot of time since we believe that content should be made available to you, at specific points in time and based on your preferences and location.”

Tech Cocktail:  What does Grabio offer users that Craigslist does not?

Boeriu :  “Our biggest competitor is Craigslist, and we differentiate from them through the following:

  • Mobility and real-time notifications
  • Location-awareness classifieds
  • Public user profiles
  • User ratings and feedback scores
  • Social layer via Facebook and Twitter integration
  • ‘Wish’ List that finds things you want at your location
  • Many filtering options to browse or search for goods and/or services
  • Mobile payments”

Tech Cocktail:  What is the biggest advantage of starting up in Denver?

Boeriu :  “Denver’s tech startup scene and community has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years and has earned its name in the tech industry, next to Boulder and its vibrant tech community.

Also, having the TechStars incubator in the area gives all the startups access to great mentors and resources. Another advantage is the size of the tech community, which allows smaller, bootstrapped startups to get more visibility, when compared to NYC and San Francisco.”

Tech Cocktail:  Any disadvantages of starting up in Denver?

Boeriu :  “The biggest disadvantage is the smaller pool of engineering resources when compared to established entrepreneurial cities.”

Tech Cocktail:  Describe a challenging moment for your startup. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?

Boeriu :  “A challenging moment in our startup had to do with a national launch rather than a market-focused approach. We have learned that in order to disrupt a mammoth like Craigslist, creating strong local communities first is the key to success. We decided to shift our national marketing efforts to individual cities (Chicago, Denver, NYC) where we could create a loyal base of users and build critical mass.”

Even though Grabio is trying to disrupt a mammoth, Boeriu believes his team is equal to the task. According to Boeriu, “Our team culture is based on collaboration, and the complementary skills we have allow us to help and push each other while staying focused on company growth. ”

Grabio was a featured startup at our Tech Cocktail Denver Mixer & Startup Showcase.

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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