vendi is a London based start-up with a mission to make peer-to-peer marketplaces mainstream. By removing the risks and hassles from private buying and selling, vendi brings an augmented peer-to-peer experience to marketplaces. Every buyer, seller, and product is verified to remove any possible scam during the transaction.
vendi aren’t trying to compete with the marketplace giants such as eBay and Amazon, they’re aiming to capture consumer sellers from the likes of Gumtree, Shpock and Facebook. Founded in 2018 by ex-Cisco employees Anil Rao, CTO, and Pablo Gonzalez-Iglesias. vendi guarantees to protect both sides of the transaction. After the buyer pays in-app, the money is withheld from the seller and only released after the product is verified by a network of shops.
In 2018, Pablo was scammed for his mobile phone when he encountered a thief and fraudster instead of an honest buyer whilst trying to sell a phone on a supposedly reputable marketplace. In the attack which ensued, Pablo not only lost his phone but also nearly his ear! This incident, as well as other fraud attempts in multiple marketplaces, led Anil and Pablo to think deeply about what was wrong with the P2P marketplaces on offer; consumers can find great prices for new and preowned products, however with each transaction, there is an underlying risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
Pablo isn’t alone – When it comes to buying and selling phones and tech peer-to-peer Vendi say that they discovered close to 90% of people have been scammed or been approached by a scammer. Their mission is to make peer-to-peer mainstream by removing any risk of getting scammed.
vendi is designed as a peer-to-peer marketplace to buy and sell verified tech without having to meet up with anyone. They do this by using an unbiased third party (the verifier) to facilitate the transaction and verify the product. The buyer’s payment to the seller is paused until the product is verified by their tech and network. Like an escrow, but with product verification.
The product verification includes three stages, serial number check, cosmetic check and diagnostic check. For example with a phone, they run a rigorous IMEI check to ensure the phone has not been previously stolen or part of an insurance claim. This check is run before the device is sent to the verifier. The verifier will then run a cosmetic check and diagnostic check of the phone ensuring that the product functions and that the condition of it matches what the seller has described. The verifier is an expert in their respective field. For example with phones, they have partnered up with repair shops around the UK to run the verification checks on the phone.
“Our mission is two-fold, to make P2P a trusted and mainstream activity enabling people to buy and sell devices at the best prices and to stretch the lifecycle of their electronic goods to reduce electronic-waste. Peer-to-peer marketplaces offer new and preowned products 30-60% cheaper than retail, but my experience, as many others’ out there, shows there is an inherent flaw and that the trust needed between buyer and seller cannot be guaranteed. That’s why we decided to create vendi to eliminate the risk for both sides of the equation, allowing honest buyers and sellers to transact with one another”. In the near future, other marketplaces will be able to leverage vendi’s verification-as-a-service to further protect their users against online scams.”
– Pablo González-Iglesias, founder, vendi
To join the vendi community, users simply need to download the app from Google or Apple. If the user is intending to buy or sell something on the vendi platform, we run a quick KYC/ID check before they complete their first transaction on the platform to ensure we curate a community of honest buyers and sellers.