Panjo bills itself as the easiest way for hobbyists and enthusiasts to buy and sell the most desirable products, parts, rare collectibles, and accessories. The platform is set up so that individual interest-based communities can launch their own peer-to-peer marketplaces both on the web and iOS.
Today, Chad Billmyer, Cofounder and CEO, sits down with us and tells us more about the business, which sits at the intersection of a $15 billion market, and his experience building Panjo in Los Angeles.
Tell us about the product or service.
Panjo is a peer-to-peer marketplace for auto, sport, and hobby enthusiasts. The world’s subject matter experts in everything from BMWs to RC cars to camping turn to Panjo to buy and sell their high-end, used goods.
How is it different?
As a community of communities, Panjo is different from other marketplaces. At last count, over 65% of the items for sale on Panjo were found nowhere else. Many of our buyers and sellers turn to Panjo for inspiration and discovery. They also turn to Panjo for the knowledge sharing that is necessary to purchase the types of items found on Panjo. Sellers on Panjo want their items to ultimately go to a good home. They want the buyer to appreciate what he has purchased. Buyers on Panjo rely on the subject matter expertise of the sellers to confirm that the items they are purchasing meet their precise requirements.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Panjo is focused on auto, sport, and hobby categories that account for $15 billion in annual transactions between individuals.
What is the business model?
Sellers pay transaction fees for successful sales.
Most of the items on Panjo exist in a quantity of one. Occasionally an entrepreneur will create an item that he can sell to multiple buyers, like a lighted T hood ornament for Tesla Model S owners. Panjo’s top five categories include used Audi parts, BMW parts, camping gear, pro audio gear, and RC car parts.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Panjo is focused on growing GMV or gross merchandise volume. GMV is the total of all the items exchanged between buyers and sellers. In order for us to grow GMV, we must grow supply, the number of items sellers are listing on Panjo, and we must do so with an eye toward quality listings that buyers are willing and wanting to purchase. We are growing the volume of transactions by growing our existing popular categories and by also growing new categories.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
Limiting myself to individuals primarily based in LA, and not limiting myself to those who might carry a title of investor, I haven’t had the privilege to meet Bob Iger. Since taking the reigns of Disney in 2005, he has overseen a nearly 300% increase in the value of Disney stock, a $186 billion behemoth. I admire Iger’s leadership of the mix of brands, consumer goods, media, and technology. I gain tremendous insights and inspiration from business leaders who navigate their businesses to sustained and differentiated heights, profit, and greatness.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
There is a thread that seems to run through LA-based startups. LA ventures have broad appeal. To me, ventures that are “Made in LA” might more quickly adopt the label “Made for You” than “Made in LA.” In LA we aren’t seeing a super saturation of ventures for ‘Gen Z or millenials or hipsters or yuccies. In LA, we see ventures for global citizens.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
From a policy perspective, municipalities could think about ways to support and promote university-based entrepreneurship programs, workspace options like CrossCampus, seed stage investors like Mucker Capital, and later stage investors like Upfront Ventures. To borrow a theory I first heard Chris Dixon share, think about the credits at the end of a film. Think about the laundry list of people it takes to make a film. A startup is no different. Over time, a startup also requires a long list of special strengths and talents. LA needs to build its pool of individuals who have been there and done that to scale the seed and Series A stage ventures. Individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit need to know that great opportunities for venture creation and career path growth exist in LA.
What’s your favorite after work activity in Los Angeles?
My only afterwork activity in Los Angeles is an hour of reading with my six-year old. I think you were more interested in knowing that I make it out to beach volleyball most Sunday mornings!