Municibid, a Center City tech company that develops an online auction platform for the public sector, has started selling the items passengers leave behind at the Philadelphia Airport.
Some of the items currently on the auction block include a Magic Bullet blender, a chess set, and a random trophy – everything has at least one bid.
Greg Berry, Municibid’s CEO, said the items usually have to sit in the lost-and-found for a year or so before they’re eligible for sale.
From what we gather, the Philadelphia airport lost and found does a good job to make the item available to the people who actually lost it,” Berry said. “Most people do call and it is there, but then they don’t come and pick it up. Maybe they lost it and they’re in some other country, or they just don’t care enough about it.”
Municibid services about 1,700 government agencies, ranging from big cities like Philadelphia to small towns of only a few hundred residents. Berry said about 60-70 percent of buyers are other businesses, 10-20 percent individuals and 10 percent other government agencies.
The tech company — which profits from an 8 percent fee on every sale, paid by the buyer — also maintains several other Philadelphia departments in addition to the airport
Berry said his platform stands out from much-larger competitor eBay in its simplistic user experience and niche market. It also provides more detailed purchaser data, as many government agencies must ensure their employees aren’t partaking in the auctions, and a more engaged customer-service team.
“We utilize technology greatly, it allows us to run very efficiently,” Berry said. “We have designed a platform easy to use on the seller side and the buyer side. It cuts down support requests to a very minimal amount. Myself and my chief operating officer Mike Bianchini, we both worked in government at one point. From that aspect, we understand what’s important to them and their workflow.”
Municibid only employs 10 full-timers and part-timers, so that sleek UX is essential toward minimizing customer confusion.