Pet video marketplace Camlist eyes UK growth after raising $1.3 million pre-seed funding – TechCrunch

Camlist, the pet video marketplace, has raised $1.3 million in a pre-incorporation round, and funding the startup plans to use to develop its platform and grow its workforce – as it looks to expand its reach in the UK, its second market (after the UAE), which has just entered earlier this year.

Unlike other marketplaces, Camlist (derived from a cam list) allows sellers to list videos of the pets they want to sell, and once the connection is made, the buyer and seller can participate through both in-app video and text chat.

The market currently only allows pets to be listed, but is set to diversify to include other items in the near future.

“Classified ads, or peer-to-peer commerce in general, have been stuck in the same old mode of operation since eBay came along. There hasn’t been much real innovation since then; it’s just listings, maybe some,” Camlist co-founder and CEO Mostafa Mahmoud said. Pictures and phone numbers.

“But at Camlist we are changing that. We are turning the market into a video experience because every pre-owned item has a story.”

Mahmoud said they are building the safest way for anyone to find a pet by ensuring verified health checks and interest-free financing, in partnership with third parties, for those who cannot make one-time payments. Camlist has rehoused over 6,000 pets to date.

“Our in-app GMV (total merchandise value) has grown by 100% every two quarters, so we’re doubling every quarter, and our total GMV is about $2 million per month,” Mahmoud said.

Y Combinator was founded and launched in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last year, before the spread of the Covid pandemic. The launch turned out to be timely and the site grew in popularity as people were forced to stay home and bought their pets – partly to deal with boredom, but also because they had the time to take care of them.

“We are building the market by category, and we just feel that the pet list is too huge and they are lacking in services. We are planning to expand into different items as we go,” said Mahmoud, who is also a computer scientist.

Other co-founders include Maha Rifai, who is also the product manager at the startup, who has 16 years of experience building and scaling digital products. She is also the creator of the major video platform MBC (the largest free broadcaster in the Middle East) as well as multiple other video streaming products.

Mr. Jamal, Chief Technical Officer 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 start Camlist was inspired by the need to counter the bad experiences he had while making purchases on classified sites in Dubai, UAE, where items are often misrepresented and scams abound.

Mostafa Mahmoud, CEO of Camlist, co-founded Video Marketplace with Maha Rifai. Production Manager at the startup and Mr. Jamal; Senior Technical Officer.

Classified ads are popular in Dubai, a city of expats, where people use them to get rid of their stuff, but it also provides an opportunity for scammers to target unsuspecting people. To counter this, Camlist has an option for in-app payments – with funds released once buyers confirm receipt of the pet. This feature ensures that buyers are not defrauded by deterring negatives masquerading as sellers.

Mahmoud and his other co-founders provide a marketplace that allows buyers to try out items of interest first, through video, before making a purchase. This is in addition to ensuring that buyers are protected from fraud and quality services are guaranteed.

The company also tracks sellers on its platform to ensure they raise or keep pets in healthy environments, as well as vaccinate, deworm and ship them via a microchip.

“We also support our buyers and sellers by providing them with vaccinations, accurate shipments, deworming, insurance and free pet food. We try to provide the best experience for our buyers and sellers.

The startup has raised new funding from Y-Combinator; technology startup accelerator, Act One Ventures; An early stage investment fund and a number of angel investors from Houseparty, Mux and Facebook.

“We are really looking forward to investors who believe in our vision to build the market of the future. We are really fortunate to have people who believe in this vision, and are really working and building applications in the video industry,” Mahmoud said.

After achieving the attraction in the UK, Camlist plans to enter the US market, which she believes will be a huge and important market for them.

“So the current situation for us is to expand into the UK because it is a very big market. And we can see the impact of what we are doing here,” said Mahmoud, who was born in Egypt, with his family who moved to Dubai when he was six years old.

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