University student to launch new buying app this month

From left to right, Ethan Goldman, Spencer Carmona and Bryan Lapidus have been developing Bzar, a buying and selling app, since summer 2013. The app features a simplified item newsfeed and its own communication tool to make transactions easier between users.

This past summer, three friends from Tenafly, N.J., decided websites such as eBay and Craigslist were not cutting it for buying and selling items online. They decided there had to be a better way and began the process of creating the app, Bzar. 

Ethan Goldman, sophomore in Business — along with his two friends and co-founders, Bryan Lapidus, sophomore at the University of Michigan, and Spencer Carmona, sophomore at Rutgers University — thought they could make an app to simplify the tedious and unreliable process of buying and selling items online. Bzar will officially be ready to launch in late April. 

Goldman said Bzar is not only meant to make the entire process easier but also incorporates user-friendly components to make the process more fun. 

“The idea came when we were all trying to buy and sell products over the summer,” Goldman said. “We were all just getting pretty frustrated. In order to use Craigslist, you have to give them your email and your phone number, and it’s just not so reliable … you don’t know the quality of the product. So we started thinking of new ways, an app, that will allow you to sell products and buy products in confidence.” 

Unlike Craigslist and eBay, Bzar has users sign up using their Facebook profile. This ensures the quality of users and also better validates that the user is a real person. 

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After the initial idea and goal was set into place in summer 2013, Goldman said they set out to find coders because their strengths lie on the business side of the company. They settled on two brothers who both attend Texas A&M University. 

Once the development process began, Goldman, Lapidus and Carmona started to think about the most important features they wanted to include, the features that would solve ongoing problems with buying and selling items online. 

“Something that sets our app way far apart from anything else is the fact it’s solely based on location. So in order to buy and sell products, you pretty much have to be within zero to 50 miles of another person. The items within that radius will be the items that will pop-up in your feed,” Goldman said.

Goldman said the feed is similar to a newsfeed that features products being sold within a specific distance from the potential buyer, making it easier for users to search and browse. 

The app also includes a Pinterest-like wishlist feature, where users can save items they are interested in and view them later by photo.

According to the founders, it is also incredibly easy to add and post items you want to sell. The app provides a side bar where individuals can post items for sale and search for items, as well as manage the app’s settings. Once an individual finds an item they are interested in, they can directly communicate with the seller through the app, eliminating the process of emailing and calling because the communication is hosted by the app. This is the point where a buyer and seller can hash out the details, such as price and how they want to exchange the item.

Right now, Goldman, Lapidus and Carmona said they are finalizing the app in preparation for its release. 

“We’re definitely looking at the last-minute details,” Lapidus said. “Whether it’s a picture in the home screen that could look a little bit better, or the shade of grey, like the exact color it should be … all the little minor things. The big picture is all figured out and done. We have the beta test version of the app, so now we’re looking at all the little things that have to be done.” 

At this point in the process, as well as through all the planning and development, Carmona said the level of success they have reached so far is due to staying in constant communication.

“It was a lot easier when Ethan, Bryan and I were all together, but now its been a lot of communication, constantly texting,” Carmona said. “We all have to agree on every single aspect that goes into the app — from design, colors, images, marketing. Communication has been pretty simple through phone, texting, Skype (and) email.”

The mission of Bzar is to make this frustrating process as easy as possible, according to Goldman. 

“We can give buyers and sellers the best experience possible and also make the process fun and safe,” he said. “That’s always been the goal.”

Samantha can be reached [email protected].