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Unioncy is a recently-launched service which attempts to tackle the problem of wastefulness by providing a place for people to manage their unused personal belongings. According to information provided by the company, unused household items in the United Kingdom have been valued at an estimated £90bn. As a result, Unioncy attempts to provide a place where users can manage their personal possessions, learn about their potential worth, and sell them if they so desire.
When I began reading about the service, it seemed to me to be an online marketplace like eBay or Craigslist. Both of those services are very popular and well-established, so I asked co-founder Victor Bodin about Unioncy would compete with these much larger players. It turns out that I was wrong and that it’s really much more than that. It does offer users the possibility for buying and selling items with one click, but the essence of Unioncy is that it helps people to remain aware of what they have purchased. Rather than simply offer a place to buy the products, this service allows users to keep track of what they own, with an eye towards limiting wastefulness.
The company is headquartered in London, but also maintains a base in Sofia, Bulgaria. Bodin co-founded the service with Deyan Dimitrov and received 25,000 euro in seed funding from Bulgarian venture fund Eleven. At the moment, Bodin says there is a possibility for a follow-on investment of 200,000 euro from Eleven and that they’re currently in talks with other investors with only a few slots left for their next round.
In looking into this startup, noticed that Google and Amazon are listed as partners. I asked Bodin about this and he told me that mentors from companies like Google are currently providing advice and that Unioncy’s platform has been designed to sync up with Amazon catalog. As a result, Unioncy can say that users have access to information on more than 80 million items.
The idea for this startup was conceived in October 2012 and the service only launched in February 2013. Thus far, they’ve managed to attract over 1,000 users from 17 countries for their private beta. I’m told that they’ve also been selected as finalists for Startup Camp Berlin 2013 and Intel Business Challenge Europe 2013. Further, they’re currently applying to be a part of the NextBerlin competition, so I hope that you will take a moment to go and vote for them.
This service is very new, but Dimitrov has experience working at Rocket Internet, Philips, and Ericsson, while Bodin has previously worked at Rocket Internet and JPMorgan. I don’t know what the future holds for this startup, but the strong backgrounds of the co-founders and the fact that they’ve managed to attract mentors from a place like Google indicates that this is probably a company to keep an eye on.
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