Community and the Digital Garage Sale

To anyone who’s ever sold something online and been frustrated by the hassle of creating an account, writing a description and uploading pictures, the appeal of Rumgr is immediately obvious. Rumgr is an iPhone “garage sale” app that lets users take photos of items for sale, and then allows other users within a given radius to view the images and contact the seller—all without having to list any personal info, prices or descriptions.

Rumgr CEO Dylan Bathurst was a programmer at Zappos and an early supporter of the downtown Las Vegas tech scene. He and partners Ray Morgan and Alex Coleman, also former Zappos employees, created Rumgr at the first Las Vegas Startup Weekend in 2011. The app didn’t win the competition, but the men quit their jobs at Zappos to work on Rumgr full time.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh let the trio use a suite at the Ogden as an office (Rumgr now shares the suite with three other startups), and later helped them secure a $500,000 investment from the Vegas Tech Fund, in which Hsieh is a partner.

One of the unique aspects of the Vegas Tech Fund is that it focuses on ROC (return on community), not just ROI (return on investment), enabling Bathurst and his partners to concentrate on both improving Rumgr and helping other downtown startups without (yet) having to worry about making money. Rumgr is free to use, but Bathurst says the company will add paid features eventually. For now, he just wants to improve the app and attract new users.

To that end, Rumgr’s newest version allows users to create profiles about themselves and to track other users, and to list prices and descriptions on items for sale. The app already has led to some personal connections, such as when one of the operators of nonprofit Boys Town Nevada used Rumgr to purchase a bicycle, and the seller later arranged for a large donation of shoes to Boys Town.

After learning how Rumgr users benefit from meeting others nearby—especially in a city where so few of us actually know our neighbors—Bathurst and his team added the most recent features to enhance its community-building aspect.

“That’s the biggest part of it,” Bathurst says, “listening to people and building something they want, rather than something we think they want.”

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