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Published on April 11th, 2013 | by Tia McDonald

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New iPhone App Simplifies Shopping for Students

It all started with two university students that grew frustrated with the difficulties of online shopping and on April 4, their alternative to an easier shopping spree was released on an iPhone app called Market Loco.

Business co-founder and graduate student at the University of Florida, Jesus Najera, said he started the app with his friend, Danny Sullivan, who is the marketing co-founder and a student at Florida State University, while the website was founded by two students at the University of Michigan. He says they joined the other two students in December 2012 to stop the confusion for shoppers.

The app allows students to sell and buy items anywhere from caffeinated brownies, to concert tickets, to subleases. Categories are placed on the left hand corner to organize and make the items easier to view, unlike the popular Facebook page that shows a list of items with the only order being the date that it was posted.

“For me, buying and selling a Gator football ticket was extremely frustrating,” Najera said. “I would contact ten different students who would spam different University of Florida Facebook pages, yet very rarely would a transaction actually go through.”

He says other sites lack specific filters to look for items and even Facebook pages are known to be congested and inefficient. His goal is to lower the constant clicking process that occurs when students search for items.

“We keep it as user-friendly as possible for both the buyer and the seller.” Najera said. “Market Loco wants to make the college experience easier, and we believe that separates us from our competitors.”

Co-operator for General Electric in Kentucky and engineering student at UF, Franco Cevenini, says he has reviewed the app and it is one of the best up-and-coming for university students.

“This app and website is going to be the next Craigslist,” Cevenini said. “It will succeed because it’s based upon a college market, and the resale market is huge.”

To this date, Market Loco has been released to University of Michigan, University of Florida, University of Texas and University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The original website co-founders, David Fontenot and Raj Vir, opened the site at the University of Michigan in October 2012 and hopes Market Loco will expand to every campus through the app.

“I would definitely say that the simplicity is the best advantage of the upcoming app,” Cevenini said. “They managed to keep the app much more simple and fluid than other market apps.”

As of June 2008 there were only 800 iPhone apps and as of January 2013, there are more than 775,000 apps. Sam Costello, a technology writer for CNN said that in just a few years, the App Store has transformed how people interact with mobile devices and has developed many successful businesses.

“The app took two full days of hard programming and developing, but we put months of planning behind Market Loco,” Najera said. “It’s amazing to see the app being released so soon, and even more rewarding that it’s growing so steadily.”

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