The Social Auction: what you get when you combine Facebook, Tinder and Gumtree

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‘Social. Fast. Local’

This is the tag line for ‘Snapknock’. The new website that lets you auction off your pre-loved belongings. On the flip-side, as a buyer, it’s a great opportunity to find great deals.

For example, there’s a PlayStation 4 (+ 3 games) being auctioned right now. With a discounted retail price of $598 the starting bidding price was $1. The bidding has been fun and fierce and currently stands at $450. That’s still about $150 under the already discounted retail price.

There are other auction sites in existence, where one can find bargains as well. But what really makes this site different is their focus on their tagline. It is indeed ‘Social. Fast. Local.’ This is what makes them different. This is what makes them better.

Before I explain to you the reasoning, strategy and history behind their tagline, it’s important that we get to know the team responsible for its creation. The team is made up of three people. Manish, Sunandita (Su) and Krishan.

The Team

Manish is the technical expert of the group. He worked for six and a half years at Google in the United States, where he was a Senior Software Engineer. This is where he developed his strong back-end systems background. Having worked there, ‘suddenly you can see how Facebook and Twitter works.’ He later worked at Quora with a team of 26 other engineers.Launch Day

One can imagine that the financial benefits of working at Google would have been significant, so then why did he choose to leave and pursue entrepreneurship?

‘I stayed at Google for long enough that all I cared about was promotions.’ Says Manish. ‘In big companies you lose yourself in some way, when you can’t pursue the things you want to. When I went to Quora I had my eyes opened.’

Su also worked at Google in India where she worked in sales. She later worked in Silicon Valley in Crowdera – a social-good aimed start-up, where she got her own entrepreneurial experience.

Together their skills compliment each other quite well. Oh, I forgot to mention that they are married (as in, married to each other).

Krishan is the newest member of the team. He is a former electrical engineer, Canberra local, ANU Alumni and founding member of The Canberra Entrepreneur. Fed up with poor work environments, eyes opened to other ways of making money and creating value for society, Krishan found himself invited by Manish through Canberra’s close-knit entrepreneurial network.

What’s it like working on the Snapknock team? ‘I can only compare it to meeting Jesus’, jokes Krishan. ‘It’s a challenging environment where we have to essentially adjust and produce our product with a very short turnaround time. While balancing those technical commitments we also have to keep a thought on our pitch, which will be coming up at the end of September for investors in both Sydney and Canberra, all the while looking for ways to increase our marketing presence. It’s made easier by the fact we all have aligned goals though, and as such we try to make our work environment as fun as possible.’

Looking around the office, where one can see backpacks, a Hammock and a chocolate cake within 3 meters of their workstations, it is easy to understand that hard work and passion is not mutually exclusive with knowing when to relax and recharge. One gets the impression of a family setting. Trust, reliability and support.

Manish tells me that he actually brought the Hammock over from Silicon Valley. ‘Power naps are important. So is an open atmosphere.’Hammock

I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask Manish and Su what it was like being married entrepreneurs working on the same company?

‘We don’t have a clash of opinions says Su. We have different skill sets. It’s actually been an advantage.’ But one would think they would not get to do the normal things that other couples do. ‘We don’t have time they say.’ Interestingly, they look happy as they say this.

A little history

Snapknock are one of the groups who were successfully accepted into the Griffin Accelerator. For those that don’t know, the Griffin Accelerator provides seed funding and mentorship to businesses that they think have potential. The companies are judged on both the business idea and the quality of the team. ‘If there was no Griffin Accelerator our company would not have done half as good.’ Says Manish.

Many of you might have seen that new Facebook Group ‘Canberra Buy and Sell Flash Auctions!.’ They have over 2000 members and have been around for a little more than a month. I myself have seen many of my friends use it successfully. That group as successful as it’s been was a research platform for Snapknock. The feedback was and is being used to optimize the website to tailor to what users really want from an auction site.

Back to the taglineWebsite

‘Local. Social. Fast and most importantly simple.’ Says Manish about the philosophy and design behind Snapknock.

Local – Officially, Snapknock has only been around for a week. It is currently only based in Canberra. The plan is to create a base first in Canberra, then in other states in Australia. But wherever you are when you log on it will only take you to a local portal. Think Tinder, where only those in your area are deemed relevant by the app.

Social – ‘People want social.’ Says Manish. ‘We did a lot of interviews and we found out that people really like the Facebook element, it makes them feel comfortable that the people bidding are real people. It reduces the chance of scams.’ What’s more, ‘People are concerned with who will come to their house (to pick up product)’.  The social element also means keeping it fun. ‘We don’t have rules. We have policies. We want to keep it social, we want people to be commenting and interacting but we don’t allow bullying.’

Fast – Through their research the team found out that people don’t like the shipping element that auctions sites usually use as default method of delivery. With Snapknock, like Canberra Buy & Sell Flash Auction, it is up to the highest bidder to organize a pick up with the seller. This makes the process fast, social and local.

With an excellent team, idea and support system behind it, keep an eye out for Snapknock.

For great deals or if you want to sell some cool stuff you don’t need anymore, check out Snapknock here.

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4 Comments

  1. Mark Francis Leyba on

    There’s also the social aspect that comes with Tinder. People are real people, which you can see by their facebook account. It makes people accountable which makes it safer.

  2. Pingback: GRIFFIN Startup Accelerator Canberra, ACT | GRIFFIN in the news – September 2014

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