WILMINGTON — Army vet and University of North Carolina at Wilmington student Geoffrey Fox started “flipping” items he bought on Craigslist and selling them at a profit in order to raise money for his wedding. He started flipping sports and trading cards and moved on to electronics, bicycles, and things students needed for their dorm rooms such as refrigerators and finally large items such as boats.

“I made almost $20,000,” Fox tells WRAL TechWire, but he ran into some safety issues buying and selling online, and then his younger sister told him about a bad experience she had with a Web site. “So, I thought, there’s something here,” Fox says. “Safety is a big issue.”

Fox, a senior at UNCW, will graduate in December with a management information systems degree, but he didn’t wait to do something about the problem he saw. With Wilson Bridgett and Juan Guevara, he co-founded Flippze, an online platform that connects students who are buying and selling items via a safe, convenient means.

Fox says part of his concern about safety evolved from his stint as a non-commissioned officer in the Army for six years. “You always have to consider the safety of your subordinates,” he explains. He notes that the leadership skills he learned in the service continue to inform everything he does.

Features include a price calculator and Flippze drivers

Although it’s currently available on the Web only (https://flippze.com/), smartphone aps for Apple and Android devices are in the works for Fall release. While anyone can buy items students put up for sale, only students, who must supply a college email address, can join Flippze and have direct communications with other students. “Safety is a primary concern.”

The site offers a price comparison calculator which extracts information from other Web sites about how much a given item sells for elsewhere.

To bolster the safety factor even further, Flippze teams with local merchants such as coffeeshops to offer students incentives for meeting at their locations to complete deals. The company also has Flippze drivers who make local deliveries, “Though we may end up calling them Flippers,” says Fox.

Flippze has already garnered attention from Inc. magazine, Socialnomics, and Wilmington local news outlets. Live since Feb. 2, it officially came out of Beta July 1.

The company is starting its Video Campaign Tour of Triangle colleges and universities today (July 8) and plans to cover 2,800 miles and five states in seven days overall, keeping up a daily blog feed and videos daily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. “We hope to gain student involvement and traction,” Fox notes.

Bootstrapped so far, Flippze is currently running a crowdfunding campaign.