The three things we are really going for is that the app is fun, safe, and user-friendly.

If you’ve ever completed a transaction on Craigslist, you’re either dead, chained up in a basement, or on a slow and steady crawl to shady-transaction hell — either way, it’s too late for me to offer you an alternative.

For the rest of you, alive and seeking a different, modernized route into the world of classified transactions, I give you Flip.

“Flip is a mobile classifieds app and it’s solving a lot of the pains — because there are a lot of pains — involved with KSL and Craigslist,” Flip co-founder Matthew Gay said in an interview with Beehive Startups. “The three things we are really going for is that the app is fun, safe, and user-friendly. Because those are all things that KSL and Craigslist lack.”

“You select the categories that you’re interested in, check as many or as few as you want, select the distance, and you can also put in keywords. When you do that, what shows up in your feed is all the items that fall within those categories.”

Flip centers on those three ideas: being fun, safe, and user-friendly. Users must first sign in with a Facebook account (helps weed out some of those people who want to chain you in their basement), and then Flip passes you through another layer of security (hopefully weeds out the rest of those people who want to chain you in their basement). Once you’re in, the rest falls into place: easily post and view items, negotiate prices, and offer trades. Users exchange messages within the app — eliminating the process of exchanging personal information — and then reap the benefits.

When you’ve finalized a transaction, don’t worry about getting lured to a remote portion of Utah Lake, or inviting some crusty, old lurker into your home. Because safety matters.

“Instead of me giving somebody my address, we have trading posts, which are designated locations — like a local cafe — where we meet up to make the trade,” Gay said. “Right now, our trading posts are The Wall, on BYU campus, and Coffee Pod, which is also in Provo. On top of that, those trading posts offer a discount to anyone that goes to make a trade.”

Sometimes complexity is cool. Whether it’s advanced metrics in football, music theory, or chatting with your weed-smoking friends about the creation of stars, complex subjects have their benefits.

In the app world, complexity is not cool — people want their apps simple, so simple that their dog can basically use them. That’s why Flip has created an app that any human being with 1/10 of a brain and two hands can use. Because being user-friendly matters.

“One of the biggest things is just the simplicity of posting an item,” Gay said. “Let’s say I want to put a remote on, I take a picture, add the item name and description, and then decide if I want to accept trade offers or not. Then list the item. It takes, depending on how long your description is, a minute or less. We want that process to be as simple as possible.”

Do you like making money? Therein lies the entertaining portion of Flip, and the aspect that excites Gay the most — buying things, then turning around and flipping them for more money. Because fun matters.

“It’s a really fun idea to pitch, because it makes sense to people and it’s something that everyone wants,” Gay said. “Games and other apps, they provide you with a few minutes of pleasure, but they don’t do anything for you. If you use Flip, you can make money — potentially a significant amount of money if you’re flipping things like we hope people do.”

Flip’s path to respectability isn’t without peril. A community is required to make this app work — Flip has already signed up 100+ beta users but is actively searching for more. If you’re interested, sign-up is free and painless.

“The biggest challenge for us is going to be when we move to different locations,” Gay said. “Our goal in Provo and Orem is developing a really strong community around the app. If people go on the app in a different area and see that there’s nothing on the app, it’s going to be hard for them to come back. So we really want to plant ourselves, like in Portland, Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles, and really develop a community around the app. So we want to control our growth as best as we can.”

As people transition more towards mobile apps and search for a better option in the classifieds landscape, Flip stands ready to take advantage. It’s fun, safe, user-friendly, and it’s looking to change the way you do personal business.

“50% of internet usage is through mobile devices,” Gay said. “It’s the way that the world is going. The younger generation, if they’re going to start buying and selling things, they’re going to want to do it on their phone. There’s a lot of possibilities for us, a lot of avenues we can go down. There are so many categories of items that could be a huge hit, like college students trading textbooks. Literally anything you can think of could be sold on this app.”

Again, for anyone interested in being a beta user for Flip, click on this link and sign up.

Published 3/10/2015