Today we hear from Addoway, a startup that hopes to make waves in the online marketplaces arena. Addoway president and co-founder Fredrick Nijm explains all… 

In one sentence, what is Addoway? 

Addoway is a social marketplace that helps you buy and sell with your friends and the people they know. 

What problem does Addoway solve? 

Our solution addresses the growing need for increased trust between buyers and sellers on peer-to-peer marketplaces, while creating opportunities to cost-effectively build online sales for small merchants who are coping with the rising costs of marketing their products online. 

When and why did you launch it? 

The first limited beta version hit the streets in December 2009, and our full public beta version released in April 2010. We launched it for two reasons.

First, we knew how much pain many online merchants were experiencing trying to find cost-effective ways to market their stores. We thought we could come up with a better solution for them focused more on viral promotions than on traditional paid advertising.

Second, we hadn’t seen a company come up with a really good solution to the trust issues that exist in online marketplaces and e-commerce in general. We believe Addoway will help fill this gap. 

Who is your target audience?  

Online shoppers looking for heavily discounted prices on fashion, collectibles and electronics, as well as online retailers who sell those products and are looking to utilize social commerce to grow their business. 

What are your immediate goals? 

Our top priority is to continue to increase our base of buyers and sellers. Additionally, we have some aggressive development plans as we have a number of major features designed that will significantly increase the quality of the buyer experience and our sellers’ ability to spread promotions virally. 

What were the biggest challenges involved in building Addoway? 

Convincing sellers that we are serious and here to stay. They have seen a lot of marketplaces come and go, so a lot of great sellers have sat on the sidelines waiting to see Addoway explode before they decide to jump in. We are beginning to see this shift now that sales and membership numbers are growing significantly. 

How will the company make money?  

Currently we make money by offering pro memberships to merchants that give them enhanced selling capabilities, like increased exposure in the marketplace, analytics and other tools to boost credibility and market their items. 

What is your pricing model? 

Selling on Addoway is completely free for basic membership, which allows sellers to list and sell as many products as they want at no cost.

Our first pro membership tier is $8.95/month or $75 for a year, and we plan to add additional tiers in the future with even more benefits for sellers. Joining Addoway as a buyer is completely free.

Who is in the team and what does it look like? 

We have a small but very efficient team at Addoway. The team includes Fredrick Nijm, who held management roles inside a Fortune 500 company managing a sales portfolio of $60M. Fred is a co-founder and handles marketing and customer service.

Anthony Saia, who is a self-taught expert in web 2.0 technologies, is also a co-founder and coded the entire Addoway platform. Our third team member is Corey Kossack, who was formerly one of the world’s largest eBay retailers and has run multiple startups. Corey serves as our Operating Partner working on business development, fundraising, product management and marketing strategy.

We are also advised by a handful of advisors with significant experience in social commerce and consumer Internet applications. 

Where would you like to be in one, three and five years time? 

In one year we’d like to be the marketplace that comes to mind when sellers think about how they can leverage social commerce to grow their business.

In three years, we’d like to be one of the top places consumers go when they are looking for recommendations from their friends on who to buy from.

In five years, we’d like to be the most secure marketplace on the web to buy just about anything from an independent merchant or individual.