Looky.co, an Isla Vista-based start-up company, launched its website yesterday morning with hopes to attract individuals looking to buy products from friends and other acquaintances.

The company takes inspiration from marketplace sites like Craigslist and social media sites like Facebook to provide users with an online site that includes the classified listings of “people you trust,” with listings priced at one dollar each. UCSB student Daniel Eshaghian is collaborating with CEO and Founder Heigo Paartalu to run the site, which is geared towards bringing a new type of trading, buying and selling services to students around the world.

According to Eshaghian, big data analyst for the site and third-year economics major, the company hopes to use personal relationships that people develop within their communities to foster the online sale of various items.

“You’re using a reputation that you’ve already built up with your friends to join a marketplace with them,” said Eshaghian. “Using Looky is like an insurance policy with your friends.”

Paartalu said the company’s goal is to create an easy way for people, particularly college students, to buy, sell and trade their goods while also building social contacts.

“Looky is a friends online marketplace,” said Paartalu. “On one side, you have your life side so that you can see what you’re doing and what your friends are doing, then one click turns it over and you can see what your friends are selling and what everybody else is selling.”

An aspect of the service that Looky prides itself on is the simplicity with which the website was designed, as it includes a unique “four-click interface” and flat rate of one dollar per listing, Paartalu said.

“We came out with a brand new interface … wherever you want to go on our website, it takes less than four clicks,” said Paartalu.

The website also includes advanced privacy settings that allow users to control who can see their personal information and who is able to place offers on certain items for sale, Eshaghian said.

“You can’t see anything except for the profile picture — everything is completely private if you’re not friends,” said Eshaghian. “Then on the market side, you’re able to make things public or private.”

A particularly innovative feature of the site is its complex algorithm, which allows users to enter networks using zip codes and thereby allows users to seek out local sellers, according to Paartalu.

“So the thing is, you know your neighbors, at least their faces. I don’t think you know their email addresses and commonly not their last names,” Paartalu said. “So just type in your zip code, and you can see all these people and their profile photos and think ‘Oh I know this guy.’ ”

According to Eshaghian, Looky seeks to reward the community that helped foster its growth, and thus is giving free lifetime transactions to its first 10,000 users.

“We’re trying to reward the people in I.V. because that’s where we’re head-quartered at, and this is where we want to be,” said Eshaghian. “We’re pushing UCSB students to sign up for Looky within the first 10,000 users because we know there are a lot of second-hand goods sold in I.V.”

Start Up William Zhou


Heigo Paartalu (left) and Daniel Eshaghian (right) smile. The goal of
Looky.co is to establish both a marketplace and social connections.
A version of this article appeared on page 3 of the May 8th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus