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Alums Put Education, Each Other to Work

Four USC grads launch online marketplace

Alums Put Education, Each Other to Work

The bonds students create at USC extend far beyond the classroom, campus and even graduation — as proof, take the four USC alumni who have launched an online business that they claim will “provide a better way than eBay.”

ClassifiedBuyers (, an Internet buy/sell site, was launched in early January of this year. Alumni Jeff Grant (B.A., psychology, ’02), Casey Cosgrove (Marshall, ’99), Kelsey Durkin (Annenberg, ’04) and Mike Willman (Viterbi, ’04) worked together to create the auction-based Web site.

The group established the online service as an alternative to fee-based Internet e-commerce sites, offering such free features as a built-in payment service, secure transaction technology, competitive offers, automatic e-mail notifications and shipment tracking.

“Collaboration is key to developing a great Web site,” said Grant, who met Durkin, Cosgrove and Willman through the USC Greek system. “More than most universities, the USC student community provides a lasting opportunity for people to network. That’s one reason why ClassifiedBuyers continues to recruit from the Trojan Family.

“My education at USC gave me the confidence to dream big and also showed us all the value of a strong work ethic. By inspiring us to dream big and work hard to make this dream come true, USC prepared us for the reality of today’s business environment,” he said.

The prominent feature of ClassifiedBuyers is its “buyer approval” process: once offers are formalized with a purchase order, funds are held for safekeeping and both buyer and seller are notified. The buyer has seven days in which to authorize the seller to be paid. This process protects both parties from fraud, according to Grant.