A picture is worth more than a thousand words, but sometimes a video is even better. That’s the idea behind vZar, a Chicago-based marketplace that lets users buy and sell stuff with videos.
“When you use pictures, you can’t always tell the full story,” said co-founder Ibrahim Ali. “If you’re selling a car, the customer can’t hear the engine, and they can’t always make out all the details. With video, you can hear the car, you can walk around it and you can explain what the person is seeing.”
The app’s interface is pretty straightforward. Users looking to put a listing on the site can shoot a video up to 30 seconds long and tag it with information like price, location and additional details. Each listing is also overlaid with a sharing button as well as with buttons for messaging and calling the seller.
Ali said he got the idea for vZar when a friend of his wanted to buy a Corvette from an out-of-state seller.
“He saw the pictures but he wasn’t convinced that it was worth flying out there, so he asked the guy to send him a video,” he said. “When he saw the video he got really excited, and we went out there only because of that video. On our way out there, I started thinking about how great it would be to build an app for selling things that really showcases video.”
The startup takes listings in a number of categories, including furniture, fashion, electronics and sports equipment. To date, however, the majority of listings are for cars.
“We’ve reached out to a lot of car dealers,” said Ali. “We’re trying to dominate a niche market first before expanding into other industries.”
Ali said he and co-founder Jameel Akhtar worked on the app for about a year before releasing it on the App Store this spring. To him, one of the biggest challenges to developing the app has been developing an infrastructure that allows users to upload and download videos from the company’s servers without significant delays.
For the time being, users have to complete their transactions in person, but the company is working on integrating payment solutions as well. The five-person team is also developing an Android version of the app.
Image via vZar.