Business

Kayak co-founder launches Classy app for students with stuff to sell to other students

Above: Using Classy to dump those Brooks Brothers sunglasses

Image Credit: Classy

Students now have another way to sell that textbook they hated to someone else.

It’s an app called Classy, a peer-to-peer marketplace for students being launched by a startup of the same name. An iOS app is now available, and an Android version is coming out in October.

“I moved my son [recently] to Pace University,” Paul English told VentureBeat today, adding that said son and his roommate have “lots of redundant stuff.” English is the former CTO and co-founder of travel site Kayak, and he currently runs a Boston-based consumer technology incubator called Blade, where developer and former University of Massachusetts student Michael MacLean created Classy.

“As soon as Mom and Dad leave, [he's probably saying], ‘Let’s just find somebody to buy this stuff,’ ” English surmised.

Classy is designed to provide that option without having to venture onto the wild woods of, say, Craigslist or the massive marketplace known as eBay. The first batch of categories are books, fashion, electronics, and other. The app is initially being made available in a branded version for students at four Boston-area colleges: Babson College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University, with other schools to follow.

Unlike Craigslist, two forms of authentication are required for fellow students: Facebook authentication and an .edu email address from that school. Initially, students can only transact with other students from the same school. Safety issues will be assessed before allowing transactions between students of different schools.

A student can, English said, “literally look at a blouse she wants to sell, take a picture, and immediately offer it for sale.” A meetup with the student buyer is arranged; the sale can be done in cash; and there’s a system for rating the other person.

For some of us parents, the prospect of your daughter carrying $100 in cash as she meets up with a stranger, even one with an .edu address and even in a public space, is less than appealing.

“Students are already using Craigslist and exchanging goods for cash,” English told us. “We’re just like Craigslist, but safer.”

How does the app make money on cash sales? It doesn’t “make any money at all” in its first version, he said. A second version, expected for January, will handle credit card payments — thus calming nervous parents — and might offer sales by businesses looking to reach students.

English said Classy “evolved from a meeting I had” in the spring with MacLean, who had developed an app called Text Marlin that was used by him and his fellow students at the University of Massachusetts for selling textbooks.

As befits someone named English, he pointed out that Classy “is a triple pun” — a riff on classmates, classified ads, and stylishness.

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