Featured Startup Pitch: Givepals is giving college and university students a new, social alternative to the campus bookstore

By Editor November 29, 2011

Givepals_logoCompany: Givepals
Website: www.givepals.com
Founders: Eric Imasogie, Adelanwa Adesanya, Kelvin Ihaza, Ore Ayodele
Headquarters: Houston, Texas
Year Founded: October, 2010
Twitter: @givepals
Brief Company Description: Givepals.com is an online social marketplace where students can buy, sell or trade their textbooks, electronics and services to other students on their college campuses.


Givepals_TeamBy Eric Imasogie, co-founder, CEO and Product Development Leader

Product Overview

Givepals.com is a social online marketplace where people can give, trade, or sell items with potential buyers and sellers. Givepals is a unique platform that is fresh, simple and intuitive.

We have developed a unique way for students to give, exchange and sell textbooks and other popular college items. We believe that any campus that embraces and uses our system will see a dramatic reduction in traffic to their expensive bookstores, and an increase in friendships and relationships.

Founders’ Story

Givepals was created by a group of engineers at the University of Houston. The four of us got together one night and determined that there needed to be a better way to help students on their campus connect in order to sell textbooks to one another. Most college bookstores will sell you a book for $200 in the beginning of the semester and then towards the end of the semester the same bookstore will offer to buy back your textbook for $10. The team seriously believed that there was something fundamentally wrong with this practice so we strived to empower students on campus by creating an online tool that could enable them to post their textbooks for sale and also buy textbooks from other students. Soon enough we realized that our platform could be used for much more than just textbooks. In fact, students could even sell their old laptops, cellphones, video games and even offer out their services to one another. With months of planning, drawing, designing and implementation the four of us created what we often refer to as “A Beast!” : givepals.com.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Since Givepals is primarily targeting the young adults in colleges and universities across America we chose a marketing strategy that resonates with the needs of this generation and our distaste for being ripped off by our academic institutions: #OCCUPYBOOKSTORE. This movement is going to be huge and we will push this agenda in order to inform students across the U.S. that being ripped off by your campus bookstore is not cool, rather, saving money and getting money is, and we (Givepals) allow all students to do this for free! Right now, Givepals is open to 20 campuses, with time and demand we will strategically open up to more campuses. Students can contact [email protected] if they want Givepals to open up at their school.

How We Differentiate from the Competition 

Unlike other market places where users have to ship their products or go out of their way to meet people in weird locations to pick up items, people in networks such as colleges don’t have to go out of their way to meet strangers. They can easily meet up at the cafeteria, library or even in class. They also don’t have to worry about their safety because they are meeting people who they see every day. Givepals allows for a proper amount of disclosure between buyers and sellers within their academic community. Imagine knowing how someone looks like before you actually buy something from them. Taboo? We think not.

Business Model

Right now our team hasn’t implemented any advertising on our site but in the future we plan on launching what we like to call “interactive ads.” These interactive ads are going to be absolutely ground breaking as they will actually cause our users to not be repulsed by advertising but actually love it and want to click on each one!

Current Needs

Right now we are looking to raise capital for our first round of angel funding. We are growing each day so being able to scale at the right time is key to sustaining our growth and keeping our users engaged.

We are also looking for programmers at any skill level as well as marketing personnel.

Givepals – www.givepals.com