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36 Year Old Makes $62 Million Relying On Honesty of Strangers

36 year old e-commerce entrepreneur Yusuke Mitsumoto had an idea: “what if I pay people instantly for their used goods and then trust them to give them to me?”

Mitsumoto launched an app in June to test the idea, quickly realizing that that people – surprise – went for the money, putting him on the hook for $3.2 million (360 million yen).

“after 16 hours, he was stunned to discover he was on the hook for 360 million yen ($3.2 million) and shut the service down. A day later, truckloads of clothes and electronics gadgets started to arrive, with his startup’s employees forming a bucket line to move packages into his company’s tiny office in Tokyo.” –Bloomberg

Holy shit – people took the money and then brought their stuff as promised! At the end of the day, only 1 out of 10 second-hand-sellers didn’t deliver.

In August, Mitsumoto relaunched the service called Cash, as a new way to gather inventory for an online flea market. Total daily purchases are capped at 10 million yen – and must be comprised of items on a list including; smartphones, luxury apparel, watches, clothing, and other specific items on a list of several thousand.

Customers can also snap pictures of their items and shoot over a non-negotiable offer.

Via Bloomberg: 

“It was a social experiment,” said Mitsumoto, who started selling goods on the web in 1996. He later launched Stores.jp, Japan’s version of Shopify, which he sold and then bought back. “Of course, I believed that good people would outnumber the bad, but the question was by how much. That’s not something you can find out without trying.”

Big business

The market for second-hand godos is strong in Japan, valued at over 1.6 trillion yen ($14 billion USD). Yahoo Japan Corp. operates the country’s largest online auction site, Mercari, which became the first Japanese startup to be valued over $1 billion.

So when Keishi Kameyama – one of Japan’s richest entrepreneurs and founder of DMM.com came along, Mitsumoto agreed to sell Cash to DMM for 7 billion yen ($62 million USD) and continue running the business.

“For people doing internet businesses in Japan, DMM is a scary presence,” Mitsumoto said. “You never know when they may launch their own business and become a tough rival. I figured it’s best to at least meet.”

Indeed, a week after the deal was announced, Mercari launched an identical offering. The move by Cash proved that there was a need for such a service, said Takeo Iyo, the vice president in charge of Mercari Now. –Bloomberg

So – what do you think, would a thrift shop app work outside of an honor-based society like Japan? Would eager sellers from, say, Compton show up with their used goods after taking the money?

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11 comments

  1. traderconfessions
    traderconfessions

    Compton?… now that’s a very white of you comment. Nice.

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  2. urine2lemons

    He’s Japanese. The Japanese culture is based on honor. Try that here and see what happens.

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  3. chuck bennett

    Haha.

    No way. Wouldn’t work. Works typically with homogeneous populations I would believe.

    Traders , shut up you numbskull.

    Regards

    Chuck Bennett

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  4. zeropointnow

    Trader, feel free to substitute your own high crime city to fit the example. Then pull your panties up buttercup.

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  5. ironbird

    In Sacramento they will deliver another package as well. You can not make it up.

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  6. roundwego

    When I was in Japan I noticed that women left their purses in the table when they went to the restroom in restaurants. Japan is one of a kind.

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  7. traderconfessions
    traderconfessions

    ZPN… maybe you should read your own blog post. This feel-good story has NOTHING to do with crime. Wonder why you referenced Compton… hmmm.

    Pull my panties up buttercup? Man.. you are off your game tonight.

    Chuckie.. you don’t always have to demonstrate your brilliant stupidity. Now back to that basement studio apartment with Trump posters on the ceiling.

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  8. zeropointnow

    Dude, come on. I shouldn’t have to explain why people who live in a crime-ridden city are less likely to abide by the honor system – criminals flocking to take the free money up front and whatnot.

    You really didn’t understand that?

    Why don’t you scroll through this list of 100 most dangerous US cities and pick a less racist candidate. East St. Louis is #1 while far more diverse Compton is 71st.

    https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/blog/top100dangerous

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  9. chuck bennett

    Traders,

    You’re projecting no doubt.

    No go tell your mom to make you some of that meatloaf.

    Perhaps I’m a homophobic sexist hater of whites who love Trans Asian blacks from east LA. Or perhaps not at all.

    But I find the humor in your predicament. Do you?

    Regards

    Chuck Bennett

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  10. zeropointnow

    East LA Trans Asian blacks are supposed to be super hot. Trader might enjoy a few if he weren’t so racist. No homo.

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  11. chuck bennett

    HAhahaha.

    No doubt

    Regards

    Chuck Bennett

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