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Government auction site Municibid moves to Center City

Roughly nine months after mulling a move to the city, Greg Berry took the plunge.

Greg Berry left Conshohocken for Center City this summer, and he took his business with him.

Berry, 34, runs Municibid, which is like eBay for government surplus. He had an office in Conshohocken, where he lived, but for the most part, he and his two other full-time employees worked from home, he said.

In the fall of 2013, he wrote to the Philly Startup Leaders listserv that he wasn’t “100% sold” on moving into the city because “employees [we]re concerned with city wage tax, commuting into the city, parking.” But this past summer, he decided it would be good for his team to all be in one place and that place was Center City.

“The benefits of living in the city with a walkable commute to our office offered direct cost savings (gas, wear and tear with travel, etc) and indirect benefits (long term health benefits of walking, not sitting in traffic, more access to networking events, the city energy, etc) vs the city wage tax,” Berry wrote in an email.

He chose a private office at coworking space Benjamin’s Desk. It helped that he moved to Rittenhouse Square from the suburbs, too (he said he found himself in the city more often than not, so it made sense).

Meanwhile, Municibid is adding 30-40 government users to its site per month, Berry said. About 1,500 local governments use the site. The Municibid team also signed its first national cooperative buying contract with BuyBoard, which allows 4,500 governments to use the site.

The company takes a cut from the buyer on every transaction (it’s free for governments) and has since raised its commission from five percent to eight percent. The City of Philadelphia and City of Boston were early Municibid users.

Berry declined to share sales numbers, but the most expensive thing ever sold on Municibid was a large wheel loader that cost $165,000.

Companies: 76 Forward / Municibid

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