HaveNeed App Launches to Bring Bartering Into the Modern Age
The practice of trading goods and services can be traced back to ancient times. Though the impact of currency on the world can’t be overlooked, bartering is a process that aims to help individuals with little or no money improve the quality of their lives. Today, LA startup HaveNeed is launching to bring the age-old bartering system back to the mainstream with a modern take.
As a transaction, bartering can only occur when people have a mutual coincidence of wants, a phenomenon that’s historically prevented barter systems from scaling because of its rarity. HaveNeed’s purpose is exactly what it sounds like — it connects users in need of something with those who have that item and can offer another item in return. However, the mobile platform takes things a step further, enabling up to five people to mix and match their haves and needs until everyone ends up with what they want.
“It’s an important capability to allow people to transact without cash,” Josh Kline, HaveNeed founder and CEO, told Built In. “In developed economies like in the United States, it could be ... ‘I’ve got an iPad I want to trade for guitar lessons.’ But in other countries around the world, it may very well be for food, like ‘I need food; I can provide labor.’”
Native to Tinseltown, Kline got his start in the entertainment industry. Going from production technology to cloud content management along his professional journey — and even earning an Emmy along the way — Kline ultimately decided he wanted to use his skills as a technologist to make a positive impact at scale on the world around him.
“I thought of all these people that have smartphones and internet connectivity, [but] no money. Well, bartering goods and services would seem to be sort of a natural service that would make sense,” Kline said. “My aha! moment was we [can] include multiple people in a trade. … Now we can put multiple people in one transaction where everybody offsets their individual have and their need, so no two people have to share a mutual coincidence of wants. And I thought that might do it, that might actually make barter work.”
Upon opening the app, users will be greeted by a homepage that looks similar to any e-commerce app. The items listed on the page reflect the “needs” the user has listed on their personal profile, and these things correspond with what other users have listed as their “haves.” Next to each item, the app displays a loop symbol that lets users know whether their haves or needs for a transaction are aligned. If the loop is complete, it signifies that a user can join that barter transaction.
“The flow of how this works [has] got to be pretty simple,” Kline said. “... It’s going to work for everyone, so we try to make it as familiar as possible.”
After completing a trade, users can rate the transaction up to five stars. The rating will display on a user’s profile to provide others with insight into their credibility. It’s also measuring credibility through gratitude points that reflect how much a user gives relative to how much they receive.
Bartering is a trust-based transaction at its core, and unfortunately, alongside the gift of the internet comes a curse of bad actors. It’s no far-fetched idea that someone would receive their end of a trade without handing over what they promised. Fortunately, HaveNeed has measures in the works to ensure this doesn’t happen. The company is in the midst of adding digital ID verification to its platform that will remove anonymity from its user base.
Additionally, if someone does end up losing out on their end of a deal, HaveNeed will be able to compensate them, once the company scales. The platform will offer that person an item that other users have listed as donatable, meaning they wanted nothing in return.
“Parents of growing children is a big use case for us because those kids are growing out of stuff so quickly, so you’re constantly buying new stuff for a growing kid and either donating or throwing away the old stuff,” Kline said. “There’s a lot of activity in the secondhand economy around that. ... Our feeling is [to] chop out the buying and selling part of that whole transaction.”
HaveNeed is using the circular economy to make an impact that stretches beyond helping the environment and reducing landfill waste. It’s focused on developing a sustainable way to connect people with the things they need most. The company partners with a range of charitable organizations like the Andre Agassi Foundation For Education and the Inspiring Children Foundation, which can conduct transactions on HaveNeed for free. Outside of these private groups, HaveNeed profits from transaction fees of one dollar per barter.
Looking ahead, HaveNeed is working on adding additional platform integrations such as insurance protection for bartered items. It will also eventually add premium services around shipping and local delivery, too. While these things are coming down the line, HaveNeed is currently available for free download in the Apple AppStore.