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

New gym gains national attention

Photo by Kevin Pieczynski-Jones At the new Renton business Benavidez Sports Training,… Continue reading

Business alliance serves women of African diaspora in South King County

Nourah Yonous launched the African Women Business Alliance in 2017 to find ways to lift women up.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Wyman and Vicky Dobson, as Wyman Dobson receives a certificate and medal for being a founder of the Nishiwaki-Renton sister cities. Wyman recently retired and sold his family building, where he had been an attorney for 59 years.
Dobson shuts his doors, leaves behind a nearly 60-year legacy

Long-time local lawyer, leader chooses to retire

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to develop luxury hotel at Auburn casino

Opening in 2021, dynamic resort experience to meet guest demand, the tribe says

From preliminary plans for the new Topgolf location in Renton, courtesy of the city.
Topgolf to bring high-tech driving range to Renton

Construction is expected to be complete in 2021, according to the land-use notice.

Lawmakers need to re-examine budget before adjourning

Before lawmakers wrap-up their work in Olympia, they should re-examine their hefty… Continue reading

Inconvenient truth about batteries

Each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries constituting 180,000… Continue reading

Darker side of renewables

Before our country, in haste, dives totally into renewable energy, we must… Continue reading

Oil companies betting on electric technology

Across the pond, London-based BP and Netherlands-headquartered Shell are looking to invest… Continue reading

Trade issues coalesce Washington’s delegation

Historically, international trade issues have galvanized our state’s congressional delegation. Many wondered… Continue reading

Henry Beleford displays photos of current high school students have come through his shop to get their letterman jackets. Beleford said once they graduate, he takes their photos down. Photo by Sarah Brenden
Local shop owner helps students show school spirit

What started out as a part-time gig has turned full time for… Continue reading

Microsoft has expanded their AccountGuard service to 12 new European Countries. Yellow: European countries already protected. Blue: European countries now protected. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Microsoft warns of hacking ahead of elections

Launching defense services in Europe.