Camlist, a pet video marketplace, raised $ 1.3 million in a pre-seed round, funding the startup plans to use to grow its platform and grow its workforce – while ‘it is looking to expand its reach into the UK, its second market (after the United Arab Emirates), which it entered earlier this year.
Unlike other marketplaces, Camlist (derived from the camera listing) allows sellers to list the videos of the pets they wish to sell, and once contact is made, the buyer and seller can engage. via video and text chat within the app.
The market currently only allows listing of pets, but it is expected to branch out into other items in the near future.
“Classifieds, or peer-to-peer commerce in general, has been stuck in the same old way since eBay came into being. Since then, there has been no real significant innovation; it’s just lists, maybe pictures and phone numbers, ”said Moustafa Mahmoud, Camlist co-founder and CEO.
“But at Camlist, we’re changing that. We turn the marketplace into a video experience because every used item has a story.
Mahmoud said they are building the safest way for anyone to find a pet by also ensuring verified health checks and interest-free funding, in partnership with third parties, for those who are unable to make on-time payments. Camlist has welcomed over 6,000 animals to date.
“Our in-app GMV (gross value of goods) has increased 100% every two quarters, so we’re doubling every quarter, and our total GMV is around $ 2 million per month,” Mahmoud said.
The Y Combinator company was founded and launched in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last year, just before the Covid pandemic hit. The launch proved to be timely, and the site became popular as people, forced to stay at home, bought their own pets – partly to cope with boredom, but also because ‘they had time to raise them.
“We are building the market category by category, and we just think the list of pets is so huge and also very underserved. We plan to expand into different articles as we grow, ”said Mahmoud, who is also a computer scientist.
Other co-founders include Maha Refai, also the startup’s product manager, who has 16 years of experience building and scaling digital products. She is also the creator of the first video platform for MBC (the largest free-to-air broadcaster in the Middle East) as well as other video streaming products.
Alsayed Gamal, CTO of Camlist, has 15 years of software engineering experience. He has knowledge and experience in mobile platforms, data engineering, DevOps, API design, microservices, and serverless architecture.
Mahmoud said the idea to launch Camlist was inspired by the need to counteract the bad experiences he had while shopping on classifieds sites in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where items were often misrepresented. and there were many scams.
The classifieds are popular in Dubai, an expat city, as people use them to get rid of their belongings, but they have also allowed crooks to target unsuspecting people. To counter this, Camlist has an option for in-app payments – with funds released once buyers confirm receipt of pets. This feature ensures that buyers are not defrauded by deterring violators posing as sellers.
Mahmoud and his other co-founders offer a marketplace that allows buyers to first discover the items they are interested in, through video, before making a purchase. This is in addition to ensuring that buyers are protected against fraud and guaranteeing high quality services.
The company also follows up with vendors on its platform to ensure that they are raising or keeping pets in healthy environments, as well as vaccinating, deworming and microchiping them.
“We also support our buyers and sellers by providing free vaccines, microchips, dewormers, insurance and pet food. We try to provide the best experience for our buyers and sellers, ”he said.
The startup raised new funding from Y-Combinator; the technology startup accelerator, Act One Ventures; a start-up venture capital fund and a number of angel investors from Houseparty, Mux and Facebook.
“We looked forward to investors who believe in our vision to build the market of the future. And we’re really lucky to have people who believe in this vision, and who are working and building applications in the video industry, ”said Mahmoud.
After reaching the UK, Camlist plans to enter the US market, which it believes will be a huge and important market for them.
“So the current state for us is expansion into the UK because it’s a pretty big market. And we can see the impact of what we’re doing here. But as soon as we reach a certain point where we have the majority of the market, we will start to expand in the United States, ”said Mahmoud, who was born in Egypt, his family having moved to Dubai when he was six years old. . old.