Las Vegas-based Sharetown helps people buy, sell, or rent things safely and securely in their communities with their friends and neighbors.
“We like to think of it as a safe Craigslist,” said Jorja Leavitt, Co-Founder of ShareTown. “We really wanted to find a way to be able to share stuff that we weren’t using easily. It’s the idea of collaborative consumption that got us all very excited. We soon recognized that people wanted a way to buy and sell hyper locally too, and it was the same customer that we were targeting. People didn’t want to have to go far and wanted to be able to deal with people they knew and trusted.
The team has built features for people to give ratings on other members, and users can view Facebook profiles before they decide to do a deal.
“This also allows you to see if you have any friends in common,” Leavitt explained. “One of the favorite features is being informed anytime someone posts an item you are looking for, instead of having to search for the same item day after day, you can set an item alert and have an email sent to you as soon as that item has been listed.”
Sharetown is founded by three founders who have known each other for over a decade and have worked together on a few other successful startups.
“Cody Hunter, CEO, has been very successful with BizDev and brings valuable existing relationships,” said Leavitt. “Phil Hall, is well rounded as he understands the technology side of the business and has several good relationships with past business ventures.”
For her part, Leavitt has been in the marketing field in technology and uses her experience from that. Prior to ShareTown, she was an online marketing consultant. She has also worked for Orangesoda as their Director of Marketing and Marchex where she partnered with companies such as Netflix, AutoTrader, Esurance, Hotwire, and Kodak, assisting in their online marketing efforts. She has owned several online businesses, produced an audio book, and created a successful service business.
The team says the biggest challenge so far for the company has been keeping things simple.
“We have so many great features and options to help make things easy for our users, but we continue to try to simplify the overall platform to make it even easier,” Leavitt said. “Our biggest win is having our groups grow organically in neighborhoods all over the nation, it’s very satisfying to finding people are using your platform and loving it.”
The Sharetown team has big plans for 2015. They are currently licensing the platform out to several media companies who want to offer it to their communities. Leavitt says the team plans to continue on this path to continue growing.
“We hope to reach critical mass in a few different markets so that we can focus on the rental side of things because we see that as a huge opportunity,” she added.
The Sharetown team says they would love to have the #VegasTech community help them in the Las Vegas market by using the Sharetown platform and giving feedback. Community members can check out groups including the Las Vegas and Centennial Hills groups.
“We are actively looking for partnerships with community based membership, such as newspapers, credit unions, Universities, etc,” added Leavitt. “Also, we are currently raising a round of funding to help support the rapid growth we are seeing.”