Four undergraduates have launched a Yale-exclusive, community-based e-commerce startup which seeks to become the platform by which students and faculty exchange goods on campus.
The startup, which is called BoolaMarket, hosts the buying and selling of goods through its website. BoolaMarket enables users to make wish lists and select their preferred categories of goods — such as furniture, electronics or dorm commodities. BoolaMarket CEO Kevin Fung ’17 said the site intends to facilitate efficient transactions between members of the Yale community. Users are required to sign up with their Yale NetIDs, he added.
Fung said that BoolaMarket ultimately aims to replace online shopping platforms that Yale students commonly use, including the Facebook group “Free and For Sale” and Craigslist. Fung added that the site aims to provide a “platform built on trust,” between Yale students, so that they feel more comfortable and safe using it than they would using an external platform. The community base of the site, he said, will incentivize people to use it.
“On a fundamental level, people trust others who share common interests, backgrounds or experiences, more than they do complete strangers,” Fung said.
Fung said he met with the University’s Office of Sustainability to discuss a potential relationship between the office and the site this past Friday. Four days later, Fung said, the BoolaMarket team released the website to campus. He said the sustainability office shared the team’s goals of promoting sustainable efforts among both students and faculty on campus, as the service would offset waste by promoting the exchange of reusable goods.
Woodbridge Fellow for the Office of Sustainability Ryan Laemel said BoolaMarket offers a tremendous opportunity for members of the Yale community to reduce the amount of waste on campus. He added that the site provides a streamlined platform for online transactions and that it has the potential to replace the EliSurplus Exchange for staff members and faculty, which is currently the existing mode of electronic commerce between the University’s various departments and offices.
The BoolaMarket team also met with Kyle Jensen, director of entrepreneurial programs at the School of Management, to strategize the development and marketing of their startup. Jensen said that he generally offers Yale students advice, but that his advice is framed in terms of encouragement and conversation.
“At its core, BoolaMarket is a marketplace for high-turnover communities who need trust and close proximity to efficiently transact,” Jensen said. “There are many such communities, colleges being the most obvious. I suspect they’ll find much success here at Yale and other universities.”
Josh Hochman ’18 said that though he has never heard of BoolaMarket, he would be interested in using the service.
“It sounds convenient, useful and like something I would try,” he said.
Nikki Hwang ’17 said if BoolaMarket became a primary means of transactions between members of the Yale community, she would readily use the site.
As of late Thursday evening, the site has attracted over 1,416 page views, 291 users and $12,195 worth of items.