OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar. (Photo courtesy of OfferUp)

OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar. (Photo courtesy of OfferUp)

OfferUp founder Nick Huzar makes customer safety a core pillar

Bellevue-based CEO wanted a simpler solution to his own problems

For Nick Huzar, Bellevue-based OfferUp started as a solution to a problem all too common in the modern world: he had to get rid of his old stuff.

“I just wanted it gone,” said Huzar, the company’s CEO.

In 2011, Huzar and his wife had just had a child — a daughter — and they needed to clear out their old things to make room for her. Dispensing old stuff was a hassle, and not being a fan of Craigslist or eBay’s interface, Huzar wanted a simpler solution to his own problems.

So, he and co-founder Arean van Veelen came up with OfferUp, which lets users buy and sell directly without giving out their personal information.

“Because of the smartphone, we were able to take a problem space and reimagine it entirely,” Huzar said. Instead of using an encyclopedic layout like Craigslist, OfferUp was designed as a smartphone app first instead of a website.

Since it was designed for the smartphone, OfferUp’s user interface focuses on being accessible first, so app users can easily make money from their unwanted possessions. “I’ve always thought about what we’re doing as unlocking value — and value’s sitting in our homes,” Huzar said.

However, Huzar noticed that a simple user interface took a backseat for many. “As I engaged more and more people, especially women, I found that they didn’t care,” Huzar said. “They were like, ‘I’m terrified of a person I don’t know coming to my house.’”

As a result, safety became one of the core pillars of OfferUp. Users can set up trades through the app without needing to give a stranger their phone number or email. When users do meet, they can choose to do so at designated “Community MeetUp Spots” in public, often located next to a police station or a local retailer.

OfferUp reaches out to businesses and public services like these to coordinate their efforts so that users can feel safe buying and selling their items. Huzar said that police reacted to their efforts with both surprise and approval.“Usually the feedback [from police] is ‘No one’s ever approached us before’,” Huzar said.

Sometimes, safety and simplicity can mean the same thing. Users can build a robust profile on OfferUp over time. People rate their transactions, leave comments about how other users behaved, and can even upload pictures of themselves so finding other users is as simple and safe as possible. Huzar said that these features allow people to ask questions and judge whether another user is trustworthy.

“Do they have a picture of themselves? Do they having ratings and reputation? How often do they show up?” Huzar said, listing questions that users may have while finding a buyer and seller.

OfferUp also uses an array of software to keep its users safe, like their natural language algorithm that can tell if a meetup location or time is unsafe, or the optional TruYou feature that can verify user identity through OfferUp so buyers and sellers know they can be trusted.

And if users want to skip the meeting entirely, or just don’t have time, they can have the item shipped. “We’re doing everything we can to make it a more trusted experience,” Huzar said.

Today, Nick’s daughter is 7 years old, and instead of creating a company to help people sell their old stuff, Huzar uses OfferUp to buy goods for himself and his family.

“My daughter’s reading these books called the ‘Dork Diaries.’ There was like 10 of them,” Huzar said. He groaned that they would have had to pay twice as much for them normally, but with OfferUp, he was able to ship them to his house for a good price.

“She got it delivered today,” Huzar said.

More in Business

Courtesy photo
                                Mercer Island financial adviser Bob Toomey recently summited Mount Shasta in California.
Financial success and mountaineering | Business advice

The steps to achieving financial success mirror mountain climbing.

Rates, inventory bring opportunities for buyers

A monthly real estate snap shot by John L. Scott Real Estate.

Kailan Manandic / staff photo
                                (From left) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast.
Microsoft reveals project criteria for $500 million affordable housing funds

The company will soon accept applications for projects related to affordable housing on the Eastside.

‘Dynamic’ housing market enters pre-summer phase

A real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

The data visualized here was compiled from Apartment List’s monthly rent reports. See an interactive chart below. Kailan Manandic / data illustration
Eastside rental market could balance out with the region

Eastside rent medians increased by 2.8 in the past year, a decrease in growth from previous years.

Eastside market heats up as major tech news hits

A real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

Courtesy photo
                                Sweet Treats is the only cookie dough-focused storefront in the region and will eventually operate a food truck.
Sweet Treats feeds a desire for cookie dough

The local vendor and catering service offers safe-to-eat cookie dough on the Eastside.

The Factoria QFC (pictured here) was part of the phase out pilot last November that included five other locations in the area. Currently, the stores only have paper bags and offer reusable bags for purchase at the checkout aisles. Kailan Manandic / staff photo
QFC to stop offering plastic bags in all stores on April 1

The commitment comes early as its parent company, Kroger, pledged to end plastic bag use by 2025.

Nintex acquires EnableSoft in company acquisition

Bellevue-based company is a world leader in workflow automation industry.

Local inventory is up; buyers, sellers prep for spring

By Erin Flemming Special to the Record If you’re looking to purchase… Continue reading

North Bend’s Huxdotter Coffee consturction underway

Huxdotter Coffee is in the midst of construction on an all new cafe and drive-thru.

Stocks stay strong for Smartsheet, Microsoft, T-Mobile

Fortune 500 functionality, Hololens technology, 5G network contribute to growth