Carousell is one of Southeast Asia’s largest and fastest growing mobile-first, person-to person marketplaces that makes selling as simple as taking a photo. In the words of Quek Siu Rui, one of the co-founders of Carousell,
Anyone who knows how to take a photo or text with a smartphone essentially knows how to buy and sell on Carousell.”
Featured globally as a Favourite app on Google Play, and ranked Singapore’s No.1
Lifestyle and Shopping app, Carousell is a hit amongst youth and young adults as a popular online shopping destination. In Singapore, users often browse Carousell for price comparisons before purchasing items at retail stores. With listings offering bargains at up to 80% off retail prices, Carousell is a wallet-friendly marketplace for shoppers of all ages.
Over 8 million listings have been created on Carousell, with millions of items successfully transacted. Popular items include high street fashion, beauty products and lifestyle gadgets. Backed by leading international Venture Capitalists Sequoia Capital, Rakuten, 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures and QuestVC, the Carousell mission is to inspire millions worldwide to start selling. The team hopes that Carousell will help people to declutter their homes and adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle by buying and selling underused or unused items instead of throwing them away.
Over the recent Hari Raya, TechENT was honored to be invited to the Buka Puasa event held by Carousell. The event was not only lively but super informative and of course, the food was super yummy. We have pictures below for you to enjoy!
Carousell was founded by Quek Siu Rui, Lucas Ngoo and Marcus Tan. Quek leads Product and Marketing for the company. He studied Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at the National University of Singapore and Stanford University. Ngoo leads the Engineering aspect at Carousell and studied Computer Engineering and Entrepreneurship at NUS and Stanford. Lastly, Tan who studied Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at NUS and Stanford as well, leads the Design and Community aspect of Carousell.
The Story of Carousell
After spending a year in Silicon Valley, Carousell’s founders Lucas Ngoo, Quek Siu Rui, and Marcus Tan fell in love with technology and its power to impact many lives. The trio resolved to use technology to solve meaningful problems for themselves and for people around the world.
When Siu Rui, Marcus, and Lucas returned to Singapore and tried to sell their under-used items, they realized that the peer-to-peer selling platforms at that time were troublesome to use and uninspiring to browse on. Listing an item used to take almost 20 minutes, from taking photos of the items with a camera, to digitizing, editing, uploading onto an image hosting site, and getting the embed link for insertion into the post. Furthermore, those sites were not mobile-friendly and were not conducive for browsing on smartphones, which has become an essential part of everyone’s lives.
It was at that moment that the co-founders saw the opportunity for them to solve a problem that they not just cared about, but would also benefit many more people.
“The smartphone has reset everything and leveled the playing field – The internet used to be for people who were tech-savvy and knew how to set up routers and link wires up in all the right places, but now, with smartphones, it’s really as simple as buying a device and signing up for a data plan. The internet is now so easily accessible through the smartphone,” said Marcus.
Siu Rui added, “Our idea was that anyone who knows how to take a photo or text with a smartphone essentially knows how to buy and sell on Carousell.”
And that was how it all began.
With their idea of building a mobile platform to make buying and selling easy for all, Siu Rui, Marcus, and Lucas joined Startup Weekend Singapore 2012 and went up against 80 teams to battle for the final round of 20 teams. It was a close shave, because they had not made the finals initially – The app, then called Snap Sell, had been ranked #22. It wasn’t until 2 teams consolidated and dropped out that Snap Sell was in the running again. With that, the project came out tops at the competition and kickstarted the co-founders’ journey of entrepreneurship with Carousell.
“Winning the competition was important to us, but what was more important was receiving messages and enquiries from people telling us that they wanted to download and use our app, even before we had launched it. That provided validation for us and we become more sure that our idea would benefit many people. And since buying and selling was not unique to Singapore, we were confident that our app would be able to benefit many others around the world,” said Lucas.
The first version of Carousell on iOS was launched in August 2012.
For a long time, the three founders would set up booths at flea markets and visit social media pages to encourage sellers to use Carousell. They collected feedback from the early sellers and continuously worked to build features that would improve the user experience.
To date, Carousell has expanded to Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia and regularly holds community meet-ups to get to know the community and gather feedback for continuous improvements to Carousell.
“We are just getting started. A strong community takes time to build and we are staying focused on how improve the platform to serve our community. We always believe that Carousell is less than 1% done,” said Siu Rui.
Take photos easily with the in-app camera
Carousell has its own camera built right into the app – all sellers have to do to get started is tap the ‘Sell’ button on the main screen. After snapping a photo, users can also beautify listing photos with the app’s photo editing functions.
30 Second Listings
Listing an item for sale on Carousell is super simple. Sellers need only to provide a listing photo, item title and price for their item to appear on the marketplace. If more info is needed, sellers also have the option to fill in further details such as an item description or a preferred meet-up location (COD).
Carousell’s inbuilt private messaging system enables users to communicate entirely within the app, thus negating the need to exchange personal information such as phone numbers or email addresses, in order to complete a deal. The flexible chat system also makes communication between buyers and sellers a breeze.
Buyers and sellers can leave feedback on each other’s profiles after a transaction has been completed. This helps to build a secure and trusted community of users as both buyers and sellers can assess the credibility of the dealing party prior to entering a transaction. By striving to provide positive experiences for the users they interact with, buyers and sellers an build their credibility on Carousell over time.
Share your listings
With just one tap, sellers can share the items that they are selling on Facebook Groups, Instagram, Twitter and personal Facebook pages. This helps sellers to effortlessly reach a huge pool of prospective buyers.
Messages received from other Carousell community members are neatly organized into the app’s inbox. Users can view their messages according to items which are being bought and items being sold, thus making it simple to keep track of communications with other users. Personalise your marketplace Shoppers can shop only the items they want to see buy tapping ‘follow’ on their favourite
sellers’ profiles. Users can also ‘like’ their favourite item listings to show their appreciation or to keep track of whether an item’s price has changed or if it has been sold.
Carousell’s newest and most exciting feature since launch places a banner on the main ‘categories’ page to allow users to shop a more curated marketplace. Collections are ever changing and managed by the Carousell team to provide a themed shopping experience.