There are already a gabazillion flash sale sites and apps available, but the Berkeley, California-based founders of Peach App believe that there is still room for innovation in the world of online impulse buying. Instead of just offering discounted goods, Peach lets customers name a price for its merchandise, most of which is women’s clothing and accessories from luxury brands. The catch is that users have just nine minutes to decide whether they want to bid or not.
The startup already has a vote of confidence from investor IDG Partners, which invested $500,000 in seed funding last month. The venture capital firm’s portfolio also includes Chinese Internet behemoths Baidu and Tencent, as well as bitcoin wallet Coinbase and open-source payment network Ripple.
The app had its invitation-only beta launch last month and since then has racked up 5,000 users and is now available to all users.
Co-founder Jeff Zhang says Peach App’s model was inspired by sellegit.com, an auction site developed by the same team. Sellegit’s auctions start at a maximum price, which drops as bidders specify the highest and lowest price that they are willing to pay. As a result, Peach App sees eBay as a rival instead of other flash sales sites and apps.
“Since we are doing something that’s so new, we don’t really consider anyone to be our closer competitors. That being said, our customers do compare us with eBay’s auctions and they like Peach auctions a lot more because each auction lasts only nine minutes. It’s a huge plus for white-collar women working full-time, since they simply don’t have time to monitor an eBay auction for days or even weeks,” claims Zhang.
Like other flash sales services, Peach App is available to offer discounts on luxury items by giving merchants a channel to liquidate unsold inventory quickly. The app currently monetizes by charging commissions for transactions. Peach is gearing up for Thanksgiving, during which it will have back-to-back auctions running.