Wigix - reviewed by Erik Stuart of eBay

Bambi Francisco Roizen · January 12, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/61e

Is this eBay alternative something that's caught the eye of eBay's director of strategy?

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How do you get into the door at eBay? One way to do so is through Erik Stuart, director of corporate strategy at eBay, whose job is to vet startups and propose which ones should be ideal candidates for mergers and acquisitions or business development deals. He initiated and championed eBay's acquisition of StumbleUpon.

Who better then to be our guest evaluating Wigix, a startup trying to advance the marketplace model by applying a stock-market approach to transactions. Wigix was considered a top eBay alternative by Internet.com.

Essentially, Wigix allows people to put up bids and asks, just like investors do for stocks. Instead of an auction-style model, like eBay's, Wigix's model is a price-matching one. CEO and co-founder James Chong told me the stock-exchange model helps create more liquidity in the marketplace that eBay doesn't provide. That's because Wigix is targeting "passive sellers" who aren't in the market to sell their wares just yet, but may be interested in listing the millions of accumulated goods stored or forgotten in their dresser drawers or storage boxes. (See my earlier write-up and interview Chong.)

So, could this approach to marketplace transactions be of interest to eBay?

Stuart joined Ezra Roizen, digital media investment banker and Vator Box regular, to discuss this question and to evaluate Wigix.

Here are some of the observations made, and advice offered:

- Creating a marketplace is a non-trivial undertaking. There are a lot of challenges in driving up a significant volume of transactions. It's difficult to get the vibrancy on the buyer and seller side

- The pitch could improve, according to Stuart. The presenter - James Chong - took too long to describe the essence of the company, which is that the community helps to build the catalog. See his pitch here

- The site needs a lot more activity and volume. It appears to be lacking buyers and sellers as the spreads for products are pretty wide

- Wigix is at the intersection of marketplaces and commoditized products that's uniquely suited to not succeed

- Wigix wants to aggregate the long tail of products, which marketplaces are good at assembling. But these commoditized one-off products need a lot of volume in a regular marketplace, and likely even more in a stock-exchange model. The volume doesn't appear to be evident at Wigix

- The type of products that could work on a stock exchange are popular items, like a Harry Potter book, an iPod or a car. But these are also products that work much better in a retail environment



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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Wigix provides tools for like-minded buyers and sellers to communicate. Our community members can network and blog about new items. They can chat about their product experiences in forums. Collectors can contact other collectors. Friends can easily access gift registries and wish lists.


Ezra Roizen

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Advisor-to and commenter-on emerging ventures

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