Barter apps and services are not a new thing. There have been various sites that let people barter services or find services for cheap in the past. Those sites never really do that well as people lose interest (and most people want to be paid for time spent).
But a new company called Simbi has just earned a decent amount of funding from seed companies like Y Combinator so something has to be piquing that interest. What does Simbi have that other barter sites do not? How did this company raise $1.2 million in seed funding? Here’s a closer look at Simbi.
How Simbi Works
I recently spent about five minutes signing up to use Simbi. The site asks for social verification through Facebook or Google, and from there you can create an account. In order to create an account you have to offer a service. Most people are offering things like ‘sewing lessons’ or ‘how to play the tuba’ but some people are offering more serious things like ‘content or legal consulting.’
Every time you barter you get Simbi points (a form of virtual currency) to apply towards your next transaction. This is where Simbi might be able to generate some revenue. The company could charge real-world currency for virtual currency. So far, the company has not generated any revenue.
Simbi consists of five people right now. The latest round of funding that the company has managed to pull together will be applied towards hiring new staff. Simbi also needs to work on some marketing strategies to make sure that the company has been heard of and reaches its target market.
Why Use Simbi
There are a few reasons why a company like Simbi might make sense. Some savvy marketers can use a bartering site like this one to spread news of a product or service. Others may want to learn a new trade or skill and don’t want to pay a ton of cash to do it. Some may even offer introductory courses on a site like Simbi and then loop people into paying for additional courses through another site.
Or you could just be starting out in your industry and you may need some clients. In that way, Simbi might be a good idea too. So there are some reasons why someone might use a barter site. But there are also some reasons why a barter site like Simbi doesn’t work (and hasn’t in the past).
Investors See It
Clearly investors are seeing something in Simbi that makes them want to turn over a lot of cash. It’s not easy to get startup money (even now), so Simbi’s books must look just right to investors wanting to spend money on the latest idea. It will be interesting to see where Simbi goes in the future. Right now, the company is working on building everything out, which could take some time.
Would you use a barter site like Simbi? Have you used other barter sites?