Groupup

Remote

Silicon Valley, Jan 2018 - Oct 2018

Overview

Groupup was a native iOS application that provided large companies with private classified boards and forums. The entire application was built on trust, and each member was verified based on where they worked.

Title

Product Designer and Co-Founder

Co-Founder
UI/UX Design
Product Management
Project:
The business model

We created an P2P marketplace platform for large, established companies in the Bay Area. The idea came from our co-founder, who was working at Facebook HQ at the time. Being such a large company, Facebook has an internal listings feature that allowed their employees to connect with each other outside of work. One of the most popular posts involved buying/selling used belongings. After some research, we realised a lot of companies could benefit from this.

We started Groupup Tech in late 2016, and launched the first version of the iOS app after 4 months of iterations.

Some key features

Exclusivity: Initially, all users could only create an account through a verified corporate email (i.e., [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]). In order to be verified, the company had to meet these minimum criteria:

However, after launch, we struggled to maintain activity on our platform because there simply wasn't enough options for buying and selling. So our next release opened the platform to the general public, and we created an internal verification process to maintain integrity.

Public and Private Groups: Groups could be created by any user, and were grouped by categories. The primary difference between private and public groups were accessibility. Private groups were company-specific and therefore would not appear to anyone who wasn't a verified employee. Public groups could be joined by anyone, regardless of which company they worked for. The feature essentially covered:

What separated us from the competitors?

Established trust: We wanted to eliminate the "shadiness" of buying and selling used things with strangers. Being able to connect people to verified users of a well-known company made it easy for people to trust the exchange wasn't a scam.

Convenience of trade: We started building communities that were in the same building. A lot of well-known Bay Area companies shared the same corporate space, and creating those public groups allowed people to exchange items before/after work, or during lunch on location.

Unique features: We made it easy for people to post things to buy/sell/trade within groups. Public groups are very popular in social environments, but we saw they either lacked the proper features for buying and selling, or did not execute them well.

Discovering a niche market

Our product wasn't wildly popular at launch, but we did manage to maintain some active users. As it turns out, our most consistent category was a small community focused on buying and selling plants. Over time, the public feed was only filled with plants! So naturally, we expanded on that.

We launched a campaign on instagram that directly targeted these plant lovers

So why did it fail?

The short answer is this: as a team, we couldn't make the right sacrifices for this product. We were a team of three passionate people that spent every second of our spare time on this product; weeknights, weekends and holidays! But we still kept our cushy full-time jobs because we needed the pay-checks to sustain ourselves.

Eventually we had a point where life just got in the way. Our Head of Development had other personal priorities, so we put our product development on hold. After a few months of hiatus, we realised we didn't want to go through the hassle of replacing him, and collectively decided to stop production and just move on.

The groupup team working together in Amsterdam 2018

WHAT WE DID WRONG

WHAT WE DID RIGHT