Universally, one of the least enjoyable experiences is moving. Four friends who moved cross-country from New England to San Francisco had such negative experiences moving and buying furniture that they quit their jobs and started a company called Move Loot.
What is Move Loot?
Move Loot serves a two-sided marketplace for used furniture. The way it works is as follows: a seller of used furniture can upload a picture of their item to Move Loot. If it passes inspection, the Move Loot team will pick up the furniture from the seller for free and hold it in their warehouse for 60 days while they feature it on their website. If the furniture is sold, 50% of the selling price is passed to the original owner. If the furniture is not sold after 60 days, Move Loot offers the opportunity to further discount the selling price or donate the furniture.
Move Loot is an online platform where people can buy and sell used furniture.
Creating Value: Move Loot focuses on creating value for both the buyer and seller. For the seller, they provide storage for an item that the seller wants out of their home, handles logistical challenges with moving items that can be bulky, and takes care of finding and securing a buyer. For the buyer, Move Loot provides a quality check on the furniture, centralizes the sourcing of used furniture by category, and handles logistical challenges with delivery. Providing next day delivery / pick-up services is the key differentiating service between Move Loot and other online marketplaces for used furniture.
Capturing Value: From a monetary perspective, Move Loot keeps 50% of the money for each sale. They are also able to leverage their large warehouse spaces, which they can rent at cheap prices, as well as on-demand labor in order to provide shipping and delivery services that differentiate them from competitors like Craigslist.
Move Loot’s operating model allows them to differentiate themselves with regards to their value proposition to consumers. The number one concern for buyers and movers of furniture is shipping / delivery and storage. For sellers in particular, the price they receive for their furniture is often not a large concern. Their operating model is designed to support their business model.
First, Move Loot leases large warehouse spaces for low prices that are located near large urban cities where there significant traffic of movers (i.e. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York). They use this warehouse space as a holding space for the furniture that they feature on the website. They also own and operate all of the trucks that perform each of the pickups and deliveries. While these tasks are difficult for any sole individual to do, they are much easier costs to absorb for a large entity.
Second, Move Loot has developed their own internal logistics technology platform that allows them to track inventory and schedule delivery of large bulk items. This technology platform has been critical as the company grows and expands the volume of transactions they handle in a day. Had the company outsourced their inventory tracking and delivery platform, the margins would be significantly lower and Move Loot would not have been able to grow as quickly.
Because Move Loot is hyperlocal, with warehouses no less than four hours away from the point of delivery, and has its own internal logistics team, the company can guarantee next day shipping for large bulk items – a huge differentiating capability in the world of used and new furniture. This aligns well with their business model and value proposition of providing a hassle-free furniture buying experience for consumers.
Third, Move Loot has been very deliberate about which geographies they expand into. Their footprint extends to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Durham – all of which are cities that meet a threshold level of urban density but are in close proximity to pockets of cheap real estate.
Positioned for Success:
In two years, Move Loot has raised over $50M and has expanded to three states and eleven cities. Growing at over 100% monthly, the company is doing phenomenally well. The high level of capital investment required to rent warehouse space, buy moving trucks, and develop logistics software create a barrier to entry that insulates them from competition. In addition, the company benefits from the network effect most online marketplaces have. As more people post their furniture to Move Loot, buyers will be drawn to the website. The more buyers that come to the site, the larger the market is for sellers. As the incumbent in key markets, they have a natural advantage that will be difficult to displace.
- Interview with founder and COO Shruti Shah
- Interview with founder and CEO Bill Bobbitt