When DIY plans meet reality: Zaarly unveils “Anywhere” API

Decided you want to turn your Ikea shelves into a hip, modern coffee table, but don’t own a drill? Determined to have farmhouse-style lighting in your kitchen made from canning jars, but don’t want to mess with electical wiring? DIY home decorating and recipe sites are totally hip right now, but sometimes the ideas posted can be a little too ambitious for the average chef or crafter.
With startup Zaarly’s new “Zaarly Anywhere” API, available Tuesday and already in use on several sites, users who find a photo of a cake they want for a child’s birthday or an article about a home improvement project can post the inspirational article or photo directly from the third-party site to Zaarly. The site then connects with a local chef or handyman who can turn the inspirational photo into an actual product for purchase.
Zaarly is a mobile-focused startup that allows users to post a request for almost anything and find a marketplace of individuals willing to perform that task or create that object for a stated price.
Zaarly has partnered with Everyday HealthThe Fancy, the Los Angeles Times “Home” section, CookstrIKEA HackersRemodelaholic and Simplified Building for the initial roll-out of the API, although any site that wants to add the function can go through Zaarly to add a button on their site.
At its public launch in May 2011, Zaarly looked similar to startups like TaskRabbit, where a user can request a task like grocery shopping to be performed by another user, but this API could move Zaarly more toward the creative space occupied by sites like Etsy.
In October, the startup closed $14.1 million in series A funding co-led by Kleiner Perkins and added former eBay CEO and current Hewlett-Packard(s HPQ) CEO Meg Whitman to its board of directors.
Zaarly charges a 9.5 percent transaction fee for all credit card transactions through the site, and while users can pay in cash, credit card payments are required if a user wants to build up positive personal reviews. CEO Bo Fishback said it functions similarly to AirBnB, in which a user builds up positive peer ratings to grow his or her community standing. Fishback said that about 400,000 individuals have created accounts so far, and the site has seen more than $30 million in requests.
Below is an example of a site using the Zaarly API, which pre-populates a Zaarly post for photos or ideas listed on participating sites: