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/ February 10, 2014
Stern Grad’s PayCollective Wants To Change The Way You Buy And Sell Online

Josh Manson (far right), CEO of PayCollective, with two employees.

Quick: you want to sell a textbook. Where do you go? Do you try to sell on the Amazon marketplace or eBay, both of which will take a big cut of your profits? Or do you try Craigslist, where no one’s identity is certain and you could get ripped off easier than you think. Josh Manson thinks he’s found a better way.

His company, PayCollective, is focused on creating a new way to buy and sell online. Built around the idea of linking purchases to a verified identity, PayCollective aims to provide the openness of Craigslist with the safety of eBay or Amazon. The result is a potent payment platform that could provide the backbone of a number of eClassifieds – that is, if anyone lets it.

The idea behind PayCollective is simple and the actual execution is as well. After making an account and linking it to a verified PayPal account, you’re free to start shopping. Unlike eBay or Craigslist, the goal of PayCollective isn’t to be a one stop shop, but instead an easy to use platform for third-parties. Say, for example, that you wanted to sell a guitar. Make an entry for it on PayCollective, and include the link in a post on Facebook, Twitter, or even Craigslist, and interested parties will be able to securely pay for the item no matter where they originally saw your post. The hurdle of making a new account for this service may be off-putting to some users, but ultimately it serves to strengthen the security around the purchase.

PayCollective’s aim isn’t to entirely displace its mainstream competitors, however. Manson told NYU Local that one of his dreams when coming up with this project was to provide another source of income for flailing local newspapers. While PayCollective is based in New York, Manson is imagining papers like the Village Voice using PayCollective in their classifieds section. PayCollective wants to work with a number of local papers across the country, providing them with a platform for readers to post personal advertisements and collecting a percentage of the small fee that PayCollective charges. Here, PayCollective is going for Craigslist’s jugular – imagine the local community feel of Craigslist boards, but a lot less creepy.

From the beginning, PayCollective has been an NYU project. Manson is a graduate of Stern and all of his employees are either graduates or current NYU students. Manson believes that a platform like PayCollective is perfect for students at NYU. Because the entry can be shared on Facebook or other social networking sites, its easy for students to advertise their possession to friends and friends of friends. While PayCollective is just getting off the ground, they hope to make deals with local papers and bring their platform to communities around the country within the next two years. PayCollective is open the public now.

[Photo courtesy PayCollective]