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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Curiosity Shop
Mark Pine, Revelle ’76

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From a collector’s coin to a designer handbag to a Pomeranian puppy, there’s certainly an eclectic mix of items for sale online. While sites like Craigslist and Google have long served as the go-to outlets for online merchandise, often times searching for more obscure items can prove fruitless. That’s where Übokia comes in.

Launched in November 2011 by Mark Pine, the site is marketed as a “reverse-Craigslist,” allowing users to post criteria for items they want, on a general or more specific level. “Übokians,” users of the site, can share their wants through various social media channels in hopes of finding someone who might have something they want. The buyer-centered model of Übokia offers a new approach to e-commerce and puts the user in control of the buying experience. And Pine’s drive and
passion for Übokia is evidenced in the fact that he truly appreciates customer engagement, both positive and negative.

Based in San Ramon, Calif., Pine serves as the chief executive officer, leading the management team with his brother, Scott. Prior to Übokia, Pine had entrepreneurial success with Digimedics, a medical computer company. Pine says that UC San Diego was instrumental in preparing him for every step of the entrepreneurial journey.

While at UCSD, Pine studied applied physics and information science, noting that his time at Revelle taught him to think in a critical, analytical way. His rigorous academic experience, ultimately, shaped his self-confidence, perseverance and ability to communicate in the business world.

As the site nears its half-year anniversary, Pine has high hopes, expecting it to reach one million members by the end of the year. In planning the next steps, Pine says Übokia is on the fast-track to becoming a household name—an alternative, concise platform to search through all of the Internet clutter. However, at the end of the day, Ubokia has a larger meaning for Pine, who “loves the challenges associated with creating something people like, will use and remember.” As a “different way to find things,” Übokia could indeed be a personalized answer to the constant chaos of online shopping.

—Alex Morales