Amsterdam/London, September 25, 2014. Catawiki, Europe’s fastest-growing online auction house, today announces a Euro 10 million Series B investment led by leading global venture firm Accel Partners. Berlin-based investor and company builder Project A Ventures, Booking.com’s former CMO Arthur Kosten and Dutch media and Internet entrepreneur Willem Sijthoff, an existing investor, also participated in the round.
The traditional auctioneering industry has been slow to innovate, and the majority of online auction sites are unspecialised and overwhelming. Catawiki, an online marketplace for buying and selling exceptional objects and collectables, was established to address this gap, making it easier for buyers to discover truly unique items. It has rapidly amassed three million monthly unique users and offers 35 sought-after auction categories as varied as comics, video games,antique cars and fine wine. Recent sales have included first edition Tintin comics, Rembrandt etchings, dinosaur fossils and Jaguar E-Type sports cars.
Accel Partners has a long history of partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class businesses. The firm has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies, including Facebook and Spotify. This is the company’s first investment in the Netherlands.
Catawiki is unique in that it employs professional auctioneers who are experts in their respective fields. They curate and supervise exceptionally presented, weekly auctions, providing validation and peace of mind that items for sale are authentic. The auctioneers advise sellers on how to accurately price and beautifully present their items, and also answer
questions from prospective buyers. Currently operating in Belgium, Germany, France and The Netherlands, the company will use the investment to expand through Europe, extend the number of specialist auction categories available and build a world-class online marketing team.
Founded by René Schoenmakers and Marco Jansen, Schoenmakers said, “Prospective buyers who seek unique and special objects have struggled to find a reliable and dedicated destination online. We’ve put expert curation at the heart of Catawiki, which has proven immensely popular, attracting buyers from around the world seeking our specialist lists. This investment takes us one step further on our journey to becoming the global destination for unique objects.” The company is based in Assen and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and has 70 employees and 65 job openings. Forty-two of their employees are auctioneers, a number they plan to expand rapidly.
Michiel Kotting, Partner at Accel Partners, says, “Catawiki quickly impressed us with their innovative business model and solid execution. They have tailored the process to the buyer and professional seller and seamlessly inserted the professional auctioneer into the process. “The Catawiki team is truly passionate about their subject matter, something we also saw in the Etsy team when we invested, which has been a key factor in their success. We look forward to working with them as they continue their rapid expansion.” All of Catawiki’s weekly auctions start on Friday at noon CET and all the lots start at 1 euro, which make them highly attractive for bidders.
"We have been fascinated by Catawiki, the founders and their product right from the start," says Uwe Horstmann, co-founder and managing director of Project A Ventures. "We are happy to be able to help them further grow and internationalise their business, both with our investment and operational expertise." Booking.com’s former CMO Arthur Kosten says “I am excited to be joining the board of Catawiki to help further its international growth, as it reminds me of Booking.com. Both businesses are focused on the consumer market, bringing together supply and demand from around the world, and have a strong drive to ensure their users have the best possible experience.”