A secure payment platform developed by Trustap, a Cork company, is being used by people buying and selling second-hand vehicles as part of a new partnership with a used car marketplace in the North.
Agreed at the start of the month, the agreement with Usedcarsni.com is one of two deals agreed by Trustap since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions in March.
“Usedcarsni.com has listings for about 30,000 cars roughly. We enable dealers and private sellers on the site to accept deposits for vehicles online,” said Conor Lyden, founder and chief executive at Trustap.
“That function is a relatively new development for them, but it’s now taken priority, because showrooms have had to close.”
The Trustap platform will also shortly go live on Preloved.co.uk, an online marketplace in Britain.
“That marketplace has about 800,000 listings and we estimate they’ll put probably 50,000 transactions a month through Trustap,” Lyden said.
“That’s really why our preferred route to market now is partnerships. We can get access to lots of users and there’s mutual benefit there.
“If we were to try and replicate 50,000 users a month through Google Ads, we’d be looking at a big spend. We don’t really have the resources for that. Our strategy now is to keep partnering with pre-existing marketplaces.”
Lyden established Trustap in 2016 following his own disappointing experience buying second-hand football tickets online. The civil engineering graduate and Liverpool fan said he had been “scammed one too many times” paying online for second-hand tickets which never materialised.
He developed Trustap as a transaction platform that would protect people in the same position by acting like a personal escrow account.
In each transaction, funds are held by Trustap while the delivery is under way. Once the item has been delivered, and either the buyer is satisfied or the 24-hour complaints period has elapsed, the funds are released to the seller.
“We’ve moved on quite a bit since we started out. Back then, the platform was only really suitable for items bought and sold online that could be shipped,” Lyden said.
“Now, we have a model for items that are delivered face-to-face by the seller, like cars, animals or machinery that are too big for shipping.
“The partnership model is a big focus as well. Instead of putting up lots of Google ads and trying to get people to visit Trustap organically, partnering with buy-and-sell marketplaces is much more efficient for us as a business.”
Trustap raised €600,000 at the start of the year. Participants in the round included Liam Casey – founder of PCH, the custom design manufacturing firm – and Enterprise Ireland. Trustap is a high potential start-up client of the state agency.
“The funding allowed us to bring in a couple of key hires, particularly on the development side. We have 13 people now, including eight in Cork. We have some tech people in Romania and some customer service people in India,” Lyden said.
“It’s given us a marketing budget, which we didn’t have before, but, more importantly, we have a bit of a runway. We know that we can cover payroll for a certain length of time.
“Even if the sales don’t keep growing as we think they will, we’ll have a bit of breathing room for the year to come before we have to start looking for external funding again.”