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Carousell offers peer-to-peer buying on digital marketplace

20 September 2012

Carousell founders (from left) Marcus, Siu Rui and Lucas

Following a stint at the NUS Overseas College (NOC) in Silicon Valley, recent NUS Business School graduate Quek Siu Rui, together with friends Lucas Ngoo and Marcus Tan, decided to develop Carousell - a digital marketplace.

"Carousell is a marketplace that is designed for smart phone users to buy and sell anything in a way that is a lot simpler than on traditional channels like forums, blogs and so on. It is more than just a marketplace in that users can follow their favourite seller. Each seller has a mini homepage to list his goods," explained Siu Rui.

To sell an item, a user first takes a photo with the Carousell application. Then, built-in filters from the app can be used to make the item stand out and a short description is added before the item is listed.

"We are turning peer-to-peer buying into a social discovery where one can discover great buys through friends and users they follow," said Siu Rui.

Items are classified under different categories with some of the best-selling items from Gadgets, For Him, For Her, Beauty Products and Handmade sections.

While he has always wanted to form a start-up right after graduation, Siu Rui shared that he joined NOC to get over his "barrier of fear of failure". "Being immersed in the risk-taking culture of Silicon Valley helped allay that fear," he said.

This, combined with a great team and innovative ideas, has given birth to Carousell. The firm beat 40 other ideas to emerge first in NUS' Startup Weekend competition. The prize was a three-month complimentary tenancy of startup workspace run by NUS Enterprise (ETP); in addition, the trio also received a S$7,000 ideation grant from ETP.

Lucas, who was Siu Rui's housemate during the NOC programme, runs the engineering aspect of the company. Marcus, another NOC alumnus, takes care of the design portion while Siu Riu handles the product experience.

The team's vision is to make the peer-to-peer buying and selling a lifestyle. "We want it to be natural for people to buy and sell pre-owned items because it makes economic sense and reduces waste," said Siu Rui.