Interviews New York

OweYaa: A New Take on The Sharing Economy [Startup Interview]


The term “Sharing Economy” has kind of died down in recent months. For good reason, it didn’t really work. However, we just came across a new startup that looks to re-invent the sharing economy. OweYaa is super unique. Essentially, it is a platform where users can exchange tasks with one another. Transactions are done with favors, instead of any money. We had a chance to ask the OweYaa team a few questions about their platform:


What is OweYaa?

OweYaa is a web based platform where people leverage their skills and transact by doing a favor. We are creating a marketplace and community where individuals do favors for one another, create new valuable connections by doing so, and grow their personal skills by helping one another. We currently have a beta version running with roughly 2300 users and over 430 favors traded. We are planning the launch of our iOS application and full scale site September 1st 2014.

Who is the target user?

We aim at the digital trade skills community with a focus on individuals who are trying to break into the freelance career as well as individuals working on projects (IE startups) with low operating capital and need alternatives to getting the help they need.

Why did you build OweYaa?

As a young entreprenuer in college, I found that finding help at the right price can be a difficult feat. Moreover, nearly all the “contracting” work I used to get certain things made never evolved into good business contacts or even growth in my network. With doing favors for one another we aim to provide an option where individuals do not need cash to leverage the help of others, and form a community that grows by the bond that comes from helping one another in a time of need.

How is OweYaa different from what is currently available?

Most bartering exchanges today engage in directly trading. You have what I need, I have what you need. OweYaa uses “favor credits” that allow you to post for help. This takes away from the need for directly trading and allows the marketplace to operate more like a standard marketplace. Bartering credits as well aren’t that new. Just poorly executed. As humans we understand the meaning of a favor versus a bartering credit. We hope to use that association to gain more traction. Furthermore, OweYaa (with the September 1st launch) will provide interlinking with your social media and allow you to draw connection lists with those you are doing favors with so that when you help someone your network continues to grow.

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

My ah ha moment was laying in bed back home in Wisconsin. I had been working on an events application for communities in Wisconsin and kept having little set backs in finding the help I needed to accomplish a variety of different tasks. I was laying there and I said, ” I just need a favor from someone.” From there on out its been my mission to build that community where anyone can find that someone that will do them a favor.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

Our team consists of individuals I have networked with over the last year. Wawan Setyawan is the head of our technical development after he did me a favor with our wordpress beta site. I was in need, he helped solve my problem and we formed a great relationship out of it. Brett Williamson is our COO and helps myself conduct all the daily operations, the hustle, and management of OweYaa. As a cadet at the United States Military Academy I have days that are just too busy to spend endless hours on this awesome project. With Brett on my team I never have to fear that we are always growing and moving forward. Brett also holds a full time job at UBS bank. Liz Stack is our marketing specialist. A senior at Norte Dame, Liz handles all our branding and social media presence. She is a family connection of Brett and a fantastic team member.

What’s the next step? What are your short-term goals?

The next step is our full scale launch of the site and iOS application on September 1st. We have been working on this hard all summer to simplify the process, make it more rewarding, and provide the platform that will take favors into the digital world with a bang. Our near term efforts will focus on this launch and post launch we will continue to evolve our strategy and focus to ensure that talented, caring, and generally awesome people are joining the OweYaa community daily.