Kamloops business students create solution for online sales | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops business students create solution for online sales

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October 31, 2019 - 6:00 AM

Buying used stuff online was supposed to be so much easier. You can post a few photos to various social media buy-and-sell sites and wait for interested buyers. Instead, you have to out-wait the no shows, deal with sketchy payment arrangements and instead of dealing with groups at the garage sale, you're dealing with individuals in weird places. 

In a word: Sketchy. 

Now seven Kamloops creators have banded together to create a unique service to escape all that and just exchange cash and goods.

CarGo was launched in late September and offers an interface for people to buy and sell second-hand goods without having to meet in person.

“We realized that lots of people don’t want to go to strange places and meet strange people,” says Sachin Akula, CarGo CEO. “Now you don’t really have to get out of your home, make time in your schedule, or go somewhere.”

Akula graduated from Thompson Rivers University in computer science and has made an app before. Last year, Akula created Ready@Door, which aimed to focus on bringing restaurant delivery to areas of the city not serviced by the existing food delivery apps. Akula and his partner decided to sell that program to new business Mitchie’s Delivery, and are now focused on a corner of the market that has not yet been tapped into.

“It’s actually (because of) a personal experience. One day I wanted to buy a Google Home and I messaged a guy.... There was a lot of back and forth messaging and I was not able to buy it," Akula says. "I thought, ‘What if everything could be taken care of and you could get it right in your home?’”

Akula got to work on creating a service so people could purchase an item online and get same-day delivery.

From left to right: Dipak Parmar, Corbin Marcotte, Alex Veera, Darshan Patel, Ildus Kahlitov, Gagan Bajwa and Sachin Akula. These seven have been working since May to bring a streamlined system for second-hand online sales.
From left to right: Dipak Parmar, Corbin Marcotte, Alex Veera, Darshan Patel, Ildus Kahlitov, Gagan Bajwa and Sachin Akula. These seven have been working since May to bring a streamlined system for second-hand online sales.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Sachin Akula

“There’s lots of friction between the buyer and seller… your time is really important, you don’t want to waste your time trying to buy an item, so we thought we could streamline the entire process from the transaction to the delivery.”

The team is comprised of people with computer, psychology, and marketing backgrounds, and Akula says the mix of talents has helped to make this app creation more successful than his last attempt. Akula and the six other CarGo team members all have full-time jobs or are students, and since May they have been working on the business in their spare time, even during their personal holidays.

"Everybody is really hopeful. Everybody works on different parts of the app or the business side, and everyone works every day," Akula says. "People have worked super hard to make it happen, and we don't have any money and no one is getting paid."

For now, two of the creators are the primary drivers and have delivered only electronics. The two drivers both have cars and will deliver anything that can fit within, but Akula says they will expand their fleet with more drivers and larger vehicles. Currently, the drivers offer same-day delivery for any item between $10 and $1,000.

Akula says the drivers are paid using a model similar to other delivery services, such as UberEats or SkipTheDishes, but they will eventually be able to compete and bid on deliveries of larger items, such as furniture. As the service grows, Akula says new drivers will be screened for a criminal record check, credit card information and phone number.

Another safety measure will come from the seller's side. To ensure they aren’t aiding in the illegal sale of stolen goods, CarGo requires sellers to register with a phone number, so they can be tracked down if need be. Akula says they plan to add an I.D. verification component as well as a badge for the trusted online sellers.

“If they’re doing something wrong or something dodgy, we would give them a warning and then kick them off and they won’t be able to sign up again,” Akula says. “We want to make this a trusted place.”

They hope to work with major second-hand selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace, but Akula notes some work must be put in locally and on their own platform first. Once the service in Kamloops has proven to work effectively, the team plans to roll out in other cities.

“The idea is we want to try it out in Kamloops and see what are we doing wrong, what are we doing right, and figure out the exact formula that works,” Akula says. “We want to roll out to all the different cities in B.C. by next summer… and in one or two years, we want to be everywhere in Canada.”

You can download CarGo as an app on your phone or check out their website here for more information.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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