Trade your unwanted items on Paperclip

Trade your unwanted items on Paperclip
Rich Woolley (aged 27) is the founder of Paperclip, the platform that allows you to trade your unwanted items for something that you actually want.  Available on Google play and as of today on the App Store, Paperclip is the way to trade up. Rich has shared a bit about his start-up experience with us.

Can you tell us a bit about your education and your team?

In terms of my educational background, I have a bachelor’s degree in Applied Business Management from Imperial College London and a master’s in Economic History from London School of Economics. Professionally speaking, I have three years of experience in strategy and technology consulting. Our current team is lean; we’re three co-founders and three wider team members. Our development is currently outsourced under a partnership agreement, and we’re looking for investment to bring everything in-house and full-time in order to take our product to the next level post-launch.

What is Paperclip?

Paperclip is a location-based platform for trading unwanted items; browse items in your area and propose a swap with one of your own items, or simply add an unwanted item and wait for others to make you an offer. paperclip logo

How did you come up with this idea?

Like a lot of others, I’ve always had a few ideas written down on a tracker, many of which I have specced out but never had the courage to take the next step with. Paperclip is a combination of two of my ‘pipe dream’ concepts; a voucher trading community platform and a ‘tinder-style’ game for swapping items with your friends.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

It became depressing seeing a few of my unrealized ‘pipe dreams’ being advertised on the London Underground every day on the way to work, so I took a break from my career last year with the intention of getting a few ventures off the ground – I figured that without any dependents (no mortgage, wife, or kids), it was now or never! paperclip One of the first things I did was to survey the startup landscape; I attended AngelHack and London Startup Weekend to get a feel for the scene, and it was at London Startup Weekend (after a few beers!) that I pitched the concept for Paperclip. I formed a team with a broad range of skills, and we were all very pleased to come second overall following our final pitch. To have the concept vindicated by experienced judges from Microsoft and Google assured us that we were on the right track.

How are you funded?

After achieving second place at London Startup Weekend, a New York based hedge fund granted us the initial seed funding that we needed to get the project to MVP stage. We recently received some private investment to help get us over the line and launch (softly!), and now we’re looking to grow the product over the summer and prove the concept for further funding.

What is your business model?

The launch version of the app is completely free for all. Post-launch we are looking to experiment with a number of potential revenue streams; our primary focus will be on providing an ‘enterprise side’ solution to allow local businesses to advertise on the platform. Other revenue-generating ideas that we may experiment with involve native advertising and in-app purchases. Features_graphic

How long did it take you to build this project?

In total about 9 months; it took us around 6 months to get the platform running with our Android beta; there was a lot of fine-tuning based off initial user feedback and focus groups and so the product has undergone significant design and user experience updates. Once we had nailed down the Android launch features and design, we kicked off the iOS development, which upon completion will have taken around 3 months.

You are currently in the beta testing phase. When will your android app officially launch, and when do you estimate your app will be available for Apple devices?

We are now available on Play Store, and we have just commenced our soft launch for iOS on the App Store as of today, which we will continue throughout the summer followed by a significant ramp-up in user acquisition and a thunderclap in late August.

paperclip image 3

You can keep track of updates by following us on Paperclip or Twitter or subscribing to our mailing list at!

If you could give a young entrepreneur a piece of advice, what would it be?

It’s likely that the 60 year-old version of yourself will be angrier at the things that you didn’t do than the things that you did, just stop making excuses and go for it!