Vanderbilt undergrads create Bazaar, a Craigslist for universities only
Just in time for college move-out season, two Vanderbilt University computer science seniors are introducing an app that should make selling all those textbooks, beanbag chairs and outdated laptops a lot easier.
Walton Seymour and Alex Meyer today unveiled Bazaar, billed as Craigslist for college communities. But unlike Craigslist, users must have a .edu email and sign up with it to see listings, Bazaar posts sellers’ locations on a map when they list items and potential buyers can search only within a certain radius of their locations. The latter feature allows users in the same cities but at different colleges to see each other’s listings – allowing, for example, a transaction between students at Vanderbilt and nearby Tennessee State or Belmont universities.
“Some people can feel uncomfortable using Craigslist and meeting anonymous strangers,” Seymour said. “We bring it closer to Facebook – it’s a community, and you can trust these users more because they are the college students, graduates and employees who are around you.”
Bazaar is available on all platforms, but the app, for now, is only available for Android.
Users can easily post or edit listings and even take photos of their items within the app. A “contact” button connects buyers and sellers through email.
Founders Seymour and Meyer met in Professor Jules White’s CS278 course last fall and teamed up to write an early version of Bazaar as a class project. They realized it could be more than that and agreed to perfect the idea over winter break.
They said White, an assistant professor of computer science at Vanderbilt who has founded two successful tech companies – Optio Labs and Ziiio – encouraged their idea from the beginning. White’s Optio Labs completed a $10 million Series A capital raise last year.
“He recently gave a lecture on how to raise money, how to interact as founders, how to hire – he brings a lot of experience and wisdom to the process,” Seymour said.
The founders both have extensive education and internships in back-end web development and were able to solve problems with the software together.
Both will graduate with their bachelor’s degrees in May, but Meyer, a native of Dayton suburb Centerville, Ohio, will remain at Vanderbilt until December to finish his master’s degree. Seymour is returning to his home city of Brooklyn, New York, to begin a software engineering job with Palantir.
They’ll keep working on Bazaar and plan to incorporate their company. Future features of the site will include cash-free transactions and in-site communication that’s not reliant on email. In the meantime, they’re looking for as much user feedback as possible, they said.
Heidi Hall, (615) 322-6614
On Twitter @VUEngineering