Last year, we featured a German start-up called Sparschwein, which encourages consumers to scavenge their homes for unused items to be sold through auction sites like eBay. The selling process is handled by Sparschwein agents, and Sparschwein deposits proceeds (minus a handling fee) directly into a seller’s saving account, held at Deutsche Kreditbank. So – how has Sparschwein done over the past year? They’ve increased their customers’ wealth by over EUR 49 million, earning more than EUR 3 million for themselves and their agents. Recently, they’ve also added a new sales channel: television. Using MMS or an online form, customers can send pictures and descriptions of items for sale, which then appear on local tv networks. Besides letting consumers sell their unused rollerblades, dvd players and antique tables, Sparschwein now also intermediates in life insurance cash-outs. By taking insurance policies to the highest bidder, Sparschwein claims that it can earn customers an extra 20% compared to what they would normally get from cashing out. Sparschwein estimates that German consumers have over EUR 20 billion in unused goods stashed in their basements, attics and garages. Considering numbers are similar for most developed nations, there are plenty of opportunities for companies that will help overzealous consumers convert unused clutter to cash. For more examples of entrepreneurs feeding (off) online auctions, check out trendwatching.com’s feeder businesses.