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

Samena Swim & Recreation Club now hosts two human-powered treadmills that will allow members to participate in a global Earth Day contest to see who can generate the most power in five minutes. Samena Swim & Recreation Club / courtesy photo
Local recreation club harnessed human power

Samena Swim & Recreation Club recently installed human-powered treadmills to celebrate Earth Day.

(Left to right) Josh Marti, co-founder and chairman of Point Inside; Jimmy Ng, vice president and senior business banking relationship manager of KeyBank; Zara Huang, Global Public Relations manager for Dragonchain; managing partner, Doug Bixel with FSorb; Shiraz Cupala, vice president of UX and Incubation at OfferUp; Theresa Larsen, investor relations officer for Jubilee REACH; Lindsey Hoffman, director of Business and Finance at Jubilee REACH; city of Bellevue deputy mayor, Lynne Robinson; and Joe Fain, president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce pose for a picture after the award ceremony. Mike Nakamura / courtesy photo
Bellevue Chamber awards local businesses for excellence

The 30th annual Eastside Business Awards recognized small business, non-profits and innovation.

Nintex acquires EnableSoft in company acquisition

Bellevue-based company is a world leader in workflow automation industry.

Local inventory up; buyers, sellers prep for spring

By Erin Flemming Special to the Reporter If you’re looking to purchase… Continue reading

Stocks stay strong for Smartsheet, Microsoft, T-Mobile

Fortune 500 functionality, Hololens technology, 5G network contribute to growth

Kailan Manandic/Staff photo 
                                From left: Ed Barry, Tolling Division director for WSDOT; Kim Henry, I-405/SR 167 Project director for WSDOT; Amy Carlson, BDA board member; Paul Cornish, Bus Rapid Transit director for Sound Transit; and Bernard van de Kamp, East Corridor development director for Sound Transit, discuss various questions around transit projects along the I-405 corridor.
Transit officials talk current, future projects at BDA event

The Bellevue Downtown Association’s breakfast series featured WSDOT and Sound Transit officials.

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.

Faley of Bellevue lauded

Recognized as a 2019 Best in State Wealth Adviser by Forbes.

Praerit Garg joins Smartsheet as CTO

Bellevue-based company employs 760 people

Despite interest rate approach, real estate ticking onward

A real estate snap shot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

OfferUp founder Nick Huzar makes customer safety a core pillar

Bellevue-based CEO wanted a simpler solution to his own problems

Photo by Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr
Puget Sound companies join to create middle-income housing

Several are the same companies that opposed Seattle’s head tax last year.