Josh Watters and Larry Scott think small business bartering is a fact of entrepreneurial life that needs to be better facilitated, and that’s just what their startup aims to do.
Created during Startup Weekend Columbus, BarterQue was developed with freelancers and new businesses in mind. Unlike other online bartering communities and directories, which generally focus on the actual exchange (using points or token systems as currency), BarterQue’s sole purpose is making local connections between barter-ready individuals and companies.
“We think bartering hasn’t reached it’s full potential because it’s hard to connect with others who are barter-ready, and it’s awkward to initiate that conversation,” says Watters. ”
He and Scott don’t think bartering is only of interest here in Central Ohio, either. Within minutes of BarterQue.com going live, a woman in Davenport, Iowa left a comment on the website saying she’d often wondered how to start a barter club in her region, and wanted to work with BarterQue to get it up and running.
“With economies around the world struggling, bartering enormous international potential, as well,” Watters says.
Essentially, BarterQue allows users to put all their cards on the table, so to speak.
“No longer will a freelancer have to frequent meetup groups or networking seminars in hopes of finding barterers that have what they are looking for,” he says. “Our app allows users to select from a list of common barterables, defining what services they offer and what services they want. Users search BarterQue for others nearby who have what they want or who want what they offer.”
Once users find someone with whom they want to barter, they can send a message to that user from within the app or follow up using the contact information they’ve provided.
Watters predicts users will appreciate BarterQue’s focus on professional services.
“Many of the bartering apps out there are too diverse to be of any real use,” he adds.. “There might be only one or two users who are offering any services you are looking for.”
BarterQue beta is currently available for free.
“Our goal is to keep the basic app free to our users, and we’ve got some great ideas on how to do that,” Watters says. “We’ll use Columbus as a testbed and expand outward from there.”
In addition to Watters and Scott (who founded web development firm Studios 3 Multimedia in Grandview in 2007), the BarterQue development team includes Dwight Scott; Tina Burger handles the startup’s marketing and public relations.
To learn more about BarterQue, visit BarterQue.com.