SellAway app offers digital marketplace to ASU students

This newly launched startup may look like Craigslist, but offers a few special perks for Sun Devils.

SellAway, a “buy-and-sell” app created by ASU students, aims to differentiate itself from the competition by creating a digital market tailored for college life. 

The experience begins by downloading the app. SellAway, which launched on Oct. 16 according to its founder, Enoch Ko, asks users to choose their university, a large step away from the area-based system used by many other platforms. From there, they are directed to a main page that features a list of recent offers. Here, users can choose to search for products, converse with sellers or post their own items.

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According to Ko, SellAway’s founder and a senior in computer science, SellAway is meant to address problems students experience with similar platforms.

“When I was looking through OfferUp or Craigslist, there were a lot of textbooks and college-related items but none of them were actually selling,” Ko said. “I tried to find out the reason why and it was just that there’s too many people ... and it wasn’t really geared toward the students.”

Aside from focusing on college campuses, Ko said his team had a bold new plan in the works.

“We are also trying to implement something called a 'drop off system,'” Ko said. “Students have a different schedules and it’s really hard for them to meet each other and buy and sell this thing, so we decided to create a drop off system where people can just drop off their items at a location on campus.”

Ko said this new system will offer a number of benefits, one being safety.

“We want to encourage users to buy and sell things on campus instead of meeting at their house or something, it’s a lot safer that way,” Ko said. 

Others have raised concerns over buy-and-sell apps which allow users to set their own meeting locations, according to a report by ABC news. Although they recommend “safe meet-up spots,” SellAway’s public drop off system could make transactions both safer and more convenient.

Myung Suh Son, a member of SellAway’s Development team and a junior in business data analytics and marketing, said the app also provides an opportunity for creative students who may be in search of a platform or venue to sell their products. 

“One of our sellers, he’s an origami artist and he’s been uploading a lot of his origami posts that other people wouldn’t give another glance at, but I feel like our application gives a channel for him to actually sell his product,” Son said. 

Son said the experience of working on the app as a college student has been tough, but invaluable.

“So I think the biggest difficulty for working for a startup is the fact that you’re not being paid to do any of this at this point … you’re putting your entirety into this, basically,” Son said. “But I think it’s also a positive because ... you’re basically learning so much more than if you were to go into a corporate setting and just learning from the ground up.”

Boice Wong, a sophomore in computer science, uses his knowledge of computer programs to design and create origami models, which he then markets on SellAway. Wong said the app had specific benefits to his own venture.

“I tried selling before and it was kind of hard because people who are really far away, they always are concerned if shipping is going to damage their models or anything, so it’s nice to be able to sell within Tempe,” Wong said.

Son said he firmly believes in SellAway’s potential. 

“I definitely do see a future in (SellAway) and really, really hope people can see that,” Son said. “If they have any suggestions or feedback to improve the application in any way, we’re more than willing to be open and communicate with our customers.” 

Correction: A previous version of this story omitted a word in the third paragraph. The mistake has been fixed.


Reach the reporter at trevor.hutchins14@gmail.com or follow @TrevorMHutchins on Twitter.

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