Austin, Texas, the heart of Longhorn country, might seem a strange place to find an Oklahoma resident and proud Sooner grad.
But Matt Beckham, CEO of QuiBids.com, was on a mission. He was part of the Oklahoma contingent at the annual SXSW Conference, speaking at a presentation about online startups and entrepreneurship.
He should know all about startups. Beckham’s company, Oklahoma City-based QuiBids.com, is shaking up the online retail auction industry by adding a bit of fun to the equation.
He got the inspiration from a discussion about penny auctions. QuiBids is taking it to a whole other level.
“It’s like eBay with a twist,” says Jill Farrand, director of public relations for QuiBids.
Bidders register at the site, and buy bids in packs. Each bid placed costs 60 cents, Farrand says. When a user places a bid, he is the current high bidder, and the price of the item increases by either one, five, 10 or 20 cents, Farrand says.
Each time a bid is placed, a countdown timer adds a few more seconds, sort of like the “going once, going twice” call in a real-life auction. The last one to place a bid wins the auction, potentially saving 99 percent off of retail price.
Even losers on a bid will get a chance to buy their item for retail cost minus price of the bids they placed.
The website has a “QuiBids 101” section for novices to learn the ropes.
While many startups may immediately seek out real estate in Silicon Valley, Beckham decided to stay put in Oklahoma City.
He says he already had the right executive team in Oklahoma City, for starters. He grew up on the northwest side of the city and went to college at the University of Oklahoma.
“I’ve lived around the Oklahoma City area my whole life,” he says.
Oklahoma City’s growing stature on the national scene is helping him recruit technological talent, he notes.
The company is making sure to reinvest in the Oklahoma City community, supporting area charities such as the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma, along with the individual organizations executives are involved with.
Farrand says QuiBids is planning on taking the concept of fun bidding up a notch by introducing online games that would reward people with free bids. That should be introduced soon, she says.
QuiBids then plans on going global, expanding to English speaking countries, most likely starting with the United Kingdom and Canada.