Dump Your Relationship Detritus at BreakUpGoods.com
Many of us have been there: A romantic relationship goes sour and what’s left is a pile of stuff accumulated over the life of the partnership. Sure, you could throw it all out on the curb, but what if you have items that are worth some money? Or, for the more vindictive among us, what if that jerk who dumped you left behind a killer record collection or an almost-new set of skis? Wouldn’t it feel great to profit off that gaping hole in your heart?
The Grand Rapids, MI-based startup BreakUpGoods.com is an “urgent sales marketplace” created just for these situations. “Most people can relate to what I created—wanting to get rid of the past,” says co-founder Tom Liravongsa. “We live in an ADD world. We want to move on quickly.”
What makes BreakUpGoods different from other peer-to-peer sales websites, Liravongsa says, is that sellers are often willing to let their stuff go for rock-bottom prices because hanging on to it just brings up bad memories. Not only does the site specialize in break-up sales, but also those due to job loss, a death in the family, or a sudden move. “You know you can haggle a bit because the sellers just want to get rid of it,” Liravongsa explains.
Items up for sale on BreakUpGoods come not only from people uploading their unwanted stuff directly to the site, but also from “hundreds” of other classifieds sites whose content BreakUpGoods aggregates. (BreakUpGoods searches those other sites using keywords like “divorce” or “job loss.” One site it does not search is Craigslist, though BreakUpGoods sellers can link to their Craigslist ad if they choose.)
Liravongsa created the first version of BreakUpGoods in 2010, after a friend scored an amazing deal on a Porsche that was being offloaded by a woman going through a divorce. A second friend had a similar experience buying a car at a rock-bottom break-up price.
“At that point, I said if anything, I can buy these cars and flip them,” Liravongsa says of his plan to find and buy vehicles from disgruntled exes. Once he began looking into it, he discovered that in addition to cars, people wanted to get rid of jewelry, electronics, and even pets.
Liravongsa operated the site for a while, but then he shut it down and relaunched it last year to incorporate new technology. After running BreakUpGoods in beta for most of the year, the site was opened to the public last month. He says the company is already making revenue thanks to ads and affiliate linking.
Liravongsa says there are a total of 12 employees on the BreakUpGoods team, and it has earned the backing of Rick DeVos’ Start Garden, which has invested a total of $95,000 so far. Though he couldn’t disclose the name of the fund, Liravongsa says he’s close to finalizing a deal with a VC firm that has a presence in Silicon Valley.
So far, Liravongsa says more than 261,000 people have visited the site. In 2014, BreakUpGoods will extend its reach to pull items from auction and government liquidation sites. “The idea of finding deals is really where the world is at,” Liravongsa adds. “Craigslist isn’t the king of content. There are others out there.”