5 Questions for CEO Bo Fishback, After Zaarly Raises $14 Million

October 28, 2011

9:27 am

Zaarly, the community-based marketplace for buying goods and services, raised $14.1 million this week led by Kleiner Perkins and Sands Capital Ventures. The San Francisco-based startup also added Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay who was recently appointed CEO of Hewlett-Packard, to their board of directors.

This announcement comes just eight months after Zaarly won a Startup Weekend in Los Angeles and raised $1 million three weeks later.

Zaarly lets users request items or services for a posted price, then choose among offers. This model is slightly broader than competitor TaskRabbit, which focuses on tasks. Buyers and sellers can make deals on Zaarly’s online marketplace, or on their iPhone and Android apps.

Cofounder and CEO Bo Fishback had this to say in wake of the funding news:

Tech Cocktail: Why do you think Zaarly attracted so much funding so quickly? 

Fishback: We have a massive vision, the beginnings of an incredible team, and a fast growing community that loves what we’re doing. That’s about it.

Tech Cocktail: How will Meg Whitman’s experience at eBay help Zaarly?

Fishback: eBay gave birth to Internet-enabled peer to peer commerce and we’re hopeful that the lessons learned along the way will help Zaarly be smarter, faster, and more intentional in almost everything we do. Only time will tell how Meg’s experience there will help Zaarly but we hope to learn from her in a handful of ways. From product development to trust and safety to community development and engagement, there are parallels between eBay and Zaarly that are impossible to ignore.

As much as that will be hugely helpful to us, I’m equally as excited to learn from her as a CEO. She led eBay from a 30-person company with a few million in revenue to a massive powerhouse doing close to $10 billion a year in revenue. Very few people have ever done that at any company, let alone a company that Zaarly can learn so much from.

Tech Cocktail: How will you use the funding? 

Fishback: We’ll use this funding to add to our already amazing team. We’re looking for wildly talented developers and designers who want to help build something that will have a huge impact on the world of commerce and the way people think about employment.

Tech Cocktail: What is your biggest challenge going forward?

Fishback: We’re tackling something very ambitious, and building companies (of any ambition level) is super hard. It’s honestly tough to say what our “biggest” challenge will be – there are many that we know about and I’m sure many more that lie ahead, currently undiscovered. But that’s the job that our team has signed up for… learn as fast as possible, build things that fundamentally matter, rinse, repeat.

Tech Cocktail: How does Zaarly fit in with the future of e-commerce?

Fishback: Let’s find out. 🙂

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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