Last week, Seattle-based CozyBug.com (www.cozybug.com) launched a new online classified site which is looking to connect buyers and sellers of products, particularly those that are too large to ship. We spoke with David Cantu, founder of CozyBug.com, on the idea behind the site and where it fits in the online classifieds space.
What's the idea behind CozyBug.com, and why did you decide to start a classifieds site?
David Cantu: The idea behind CozyBug.com is to offer a better way to bring together buyers and sellers in local markets to conduct safe, shipping-free transactions. CozyBug.com was specifically created to address the challenges produced in the online sale and purchase of thems that are expensive and difficult to ship. It's also ideal for shoppers that want to examine an item in-person in addition to viewing it online.
Can you give us some examples of the types of large items that are being sold and bought on your site?
David Cantu: Furniture, appliances, vehicles, power tools - these are just a few examples of the type of large items that are perfect for selling locally with CozyBug.com.
How does your service compare with Craigslist and other classifieds sites, and why would someone want to use your service instead of others?
David Cantu: What makes us different is the ability to create a listing with rich content, for instance our Garage Sale mapping mashup which allows users to create a comprehensive map of multiple garage sale locations, (not possible on Craigslist) at a very low price.
We do not have personals or job wanted ads. We're also not an auction site or a classified ads aggregator. Our goal is to create a niche in local markets not only for businesses and independent artists etc. to have storefronts, but a key part of our strategy is the creation of CozyBug.com Swap Spots. Swap Spots are designated CozyBug.com "partners" within local communities that are the site for physical meet-ups between buyers and sellers. Swap Spots offer a safer way for people to connect and they provide local businesses with the opportunity to drive more foot traffic. In addition we charge at least 1 dollar to keep away the spammers and possibly limit the somewhat questionable users that may generally post on craigslist or any other sites for free, yet our price is low enough to be reasonable for discerning users.
What's the relationship between CozyBug.com and iCantu Technologies?
David Cantu: iCantu technologies is the legal corporate entity that functions as a holding company. CozyBug.com is a product of the company and there will be other products that will be announced out of iCantu Technologies LLC.
What's your background and that of your team, and how'd you end up starting the company?
David Cantu: My background is in architecting and managing data centers and production systems, having previously held key roles at Square-Enix USA, Twentieth Century Fox, InfoSpace, and Microsoft. I was on board as a Senior Engineer and Architect at InfoSpace during the companies very early stages and helped it grow from a small startup to a global publicly traded company. While there I built out world wide data centers which led InfoSpace to be able to offer its customers high availability and minimal down time of their services. As Manager of Enterprise Information Systems global at Twentieth Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles, I led the build out of a new data center facility and was responsible for Fox owned website and Internet technologies. I also implemented Fox’s first in-house business-to-business solution for the sale and distribution of movies and entertainment media via DVD and VHS for global distribution using a complex real time sales and distribution order fulfillment system via internet protocol. As the Director of Network Operations and Technical Services at Square-Enix USA, a developer of console role playing games for computer and video games, I was responsible for network operations and technical services in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Bellevue, WA.
My current team at CozyBug.com is comprised of two developers and one program manager.
How is CozyBug.com funded?
David Cantu: We are self-funded and we are in discussions with VCs and angels.
What's the biggest reason a venture capitalist or angel investor would be interested in your company?
David Cantu: The success of companies such as eBay and Craigslist have obviously proven the model of using the web to buy and sell goods whether that's in the form of a classified type of listing or an auction. But so far there really hasn't been a great niche offering specifically targeted at the community level of local buyers and sellers. And there hasn't been an offering that our core demograhic, primarily women age 30-50, are really comfortable with. CozyBug.com, from the name, to the site design, to the concept of connecting buyers and sellers at Swap Spots (businesses in the community rather than in the home) provides a much friendlier, safer way to conduct transactions. Today you have eBay on one end and Craigslist on the opposing end - CozyBug is meeting a need right there in the middle.
Thanks for the interview!