The eight-year-old social startup Swappa has long been known as a go-to venue for technology enthusiasts seeking out gently used devices ranging from smartphones to game consoles. Now, with the booming new interest in smart home technology, the company is getting into the market by adding a new category, “Home Tech,” to sell everything from streaming devices to smart speakers.
“We are excited to expand into the booming home tech market and offer a place for users to buy and sell for fair prices,” said Swappa CEO and founder Ben Edwards. Edwards founded the company in 2010 out of his frustration with securing devices for Android development projects. The first Swappa sale was in face a Motorola Droid.
It’s a perfect time for Swappa to enter the market, with reports estimating that more than 40 million homes will be connected to smart devices by 2021. Now the firm’s platform offers smart home enthusiasts a safer and simpler marketplace for the sale of popular brands including Amazon, Google, Sonos and Nest. Even without adding this lucrative market, the company has grown from $500,000 in monthly seller proceeds in 2012 to more than $7,000,000 in the present day. In sum, the company has sold more than $265 million worth of devices since its founding.
Like the rest of the buying and selling platform, sellers of smart home devices don’t pay fees to Swappa. Buyers sometimes pay a small fee that is included in the sale price, but the company doesn’t collect fees on sales of less than $50.
Swappa occupies a unique niche in the online buying-and-selling market by focusing on specific types of technology, monitoring the market for changes and trends, and using real human beings to vet each and every device listed for sale. In much the same way that companies like TripAdvisor use algorithms to monitor reviews and content, Craiglist and eBay both use automated processes to identify junk listings based on keywords. The Kansas City-based company checks each device listed for sale for dysfunctions like cracked glass, moisture indicators, and non-functional controls. Swappa also requires that a device’s electronic serial numbers match the original, including smart home technology devices.
As it has done for the smartphone and gaming market, Swappa can potentially help prolong the life cycle of smart home devices. The steady release of new and improved devices means a higher turnover, which drives the secondary market. Because most smart home devices are controlled by smartphones, Swappa may actually double down on the potential market for its wares.
Prices are all over the place in Swappa’s Home Tech marketplace, but the company plans to add charts and historical data to help more closely align buyers and sellers. The company already lists voice assistants, thermostats, smart speakers, security cameras, vacuums, and more. Right now, buyers can lay hands on a Google Home Mini for a cool $28, a third-generation Nest thermostat starting at $230, or a fourth-generation Apple TV for $95.