South African software developer David Kaplan has launched Value Forest, a site that aggregates the content on classifieds platforms in the country in a bid to save users time and money.
Value Forest allows users to search by item, after which the platform present them with an aggregated list of available products from a number of South African classified sites.
Kaplan said as a regular user of classifieds he last year had the idea of aggregating content from the many alternatives to make it easier to find potential bargains. High levels of interest have persuaded him to take his self-funded side project and turn it into a full-time business.
“It was originally kind of a tool for myself. But then I realised it might be useful for other people. I shared it on a few forums and people liked it,” he said.
Value Forest has seen promising uptake and steady growth so far, and currently has 2,200 users daily. Kaplan said there have been no problems from classifieds sites, as it is in their interests to have traffic driven to their sites.
The startup monetising through adverts on the site and primarily affiliate deals. Value Forest already has an affiliate partnership established with bidorbuy, and has made some revenues. Kaplan said the plan was to agree more such deals.
“These kind of things might be a bit more promising than advertising as they don’t ruin the experience of the site,” he said.
Value Forest has limited costs as Kaplan is a software developer, and he said he is not looking for funding at this point. Current efforts are towards building the user base through social media marketing.
“Up until now 75 per cent or so of traffic has come from Google organic search,” he said.
In terms of growth, he said Value Forest was targeting a large user base, more affiliates, and entry into more countries. East Africa is on the agenda, with Kaplan saying Value Forest would need to launch in countries where there are a number of established classifieds companies.