Catawiki raises $82M from Lead Edge Capital to accelerate global expansion of online auction platform
The investment, one of the largest in a Dutch internet company, will provide significant firepower for the company as it becomes the biggest curated online auction house for a range of special objects from vintage watches to classic cars
Amsterdam/New York, 30th July 2015: Catawiki, one of Europe’s fastest-growing online auction houses, today announces an $82M (€75m) Series C investment led by Lead Edge Capital. Previous investors Accel and Project A Ventures also participated in the round, as did several former Booking.com executives, including former CMO Arthur Kosten.
The traditional auctioneering industry has been slow to innovate, and the majority of online auction sites are unspecialised. Catawiki, an online marketplace for buying and selling special objects, was established to alleviate these issues.
René Schoenmakers (CEO) and Marco Jansen (CTO) founded the company as a community for collectors to buy and sell collectibles such as comic books and stamps. Since then, the company has expanded to over 60 different categories and has rapidly grown into the premier online destination in Europe for buying and selling special items. Its biggest categories currently are jewellery, art, classic cars and watches, and recent sales have included a strand of Napoleon’s hair, a Tyrannosaurus rex jaw, the first Tintin comic, a Jaguar E-Type convertible and a bottle of 1975 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru.
The Catawiki-founders René Schoenmakers (CEO) and Marco Jansen (CTO) ©Jaspar Moulijn
Today, Catawiki is a trusted place for buyers to easily discover unique objects and for sellers to reliably reach a large number of potential bidders from around the world. Category experts act as auctioneers who curate and oversee weekly auctions. Sellers are advised on how to accurately price and present their items, while buyers purchase higher quality, more authentic goods.
The Series C investment, which is one of the largest-ever in a Dutch internet company, follows impressive growth since the company’s €10m Series B investment in 2014. Over the last 12 months, the company has increased revenues by 300% and doubled its number of auction categories, selling over 15,000 lots per week. It has also launched in Italy, Spain and the UK.
Schoenmakers said, “Our traction over the last year shows that people are seeking a new and better way to buy and sell their unique objects. We have grown exceptionally fast while not spending much money from the last funding round. This investment will allow us to roll out many exciting new product features on our platform and open up new markets even faster than originally planned. This is the time to step on the gas and take advantage of the huge opportunity available to us.”
Catawiki will use the new round of funding to build upon its success as it seeks to make unique items available to everyone. In addition to strengthening its presence in existing markets, expansion is planned for new markets in Europe and many other regions around the world. As Catawiki scales globally, the company continues to look for exceptional leaders across numerous areas of the business and is actively hiring for hundreds of positions, in particular software developers, auctioneers, inside sales executives and country managers. Its primary recruitment goal is to hire the best technical talent from all over the world to continue building a world-class software development team.
Mitchell Green, Managing Partner at Lead Edge Capital, said: “Lead Edge has a strong history of investing in successful online marketplaces. Catawiki’s curated offering intrigued us, but we were really impressed by the company’s enormous addressable market, highly capital efficient business model and buyers and sellers’ love of the platform as demonstrated through remarkable unit economics. We look forward to helping Catawiki build a global online auction platform.”
As part of the investment, Lorrie Norrington, an Operating Partner at Lead Edge Capital, will be an advisor to the business. Formerly the President of eBay Marketplaces, she has tremendous experience running global marketplaces. Norrington adds further expertise to the business, which already counts Kosten as a member of the Board, who was a significant driver behind Booking.com’s growth.
Michiel Kotting, Partner at Accel, said: “When we first met René and Marco, their passion and strong execution were clear. These qualities have proven to be essential ingredients for Catawiki’s growth to date. It’s been fantastic to see how popular the marketplace has become since our initial investment, and we’re excited to continue to support the company as it expands to meet its international demand.”
Uwe Horstmann, co-founder and managing director of Project A Ventures, said: “One year after our initial investment and after a fantastic journey with a lot of operational collaboration, we are excited to support the great team at Catawiki with another investment.”
Catawiki has buyers and sellers around the world and has grown its team to 200 people in five countries, which include France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. All of its weekly auctions start on a Friday at noon CET, with all lots starting at 1 euro, making them highly attractive prospects for bidders.
Catawiki is Europe’s fastest-growing online auction house for special items. In 2008, René Schoenmakers (CEO) and Marco Jansen (CTO) founded the company as a community for collectors, and it has become the largest online destination for buying and selling unique objects. Since 2011, Catawiki has been hosting weekly auctions in 60 categories, from classic cars to vintage watches. Experts supervise the auctions, guaranteeing varied, high quality selections of the lots. Catawiki's special payment systems also provides a secure and simple means of transaction.
About Lead Edge Capital
Lead Edge Capital is a global growth stage investor that offers entrepreneurs flexible capital and extensive domain expertise via its Limited Partners, which are a global group of leading executives, entrepreneurs and dealmakers, who are the primary investors in Lead Edge’s funds. Over the last decade, Lead Edge has invested in numerous successful internet and software companies, including Alibaba Group, Appirio, Bazaarvoice, BlaBlaCar, Catawiki, Delivery Hero, DrillingInfo, Duo Security, Marketo, Mindbody, Refinery29, Serena & Lily, VivaReal, Xamarin, and others. Lead Edge manages over $850 million in assets and is based in New York City.
Accel is a leading early and growth-stage venture capital firm, powering a global community of entrepreneurs. Accel backs entrepreneurs who have what it takes to build a world-class, category-defining business. Founded in 1983, Accel brings more than three decades of experience building and supporting hundreds of companies. Accel's vision for entrepreneurship and business enables it to identify and invest in the companies that will be responsible for the growth of next-generation industries. Accel has backed a number of iconic global platforms, which are powering new experiences for mobile consumers and the modern enterprise, including Atlassian, BlaBlaCar, Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Funding Circle, Kayak, QlikTech, Simplivity, Slack, Spotify, Supercell, World Remit and others.
For more information, please visit the Accel web site at www.accel.com. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/accel.
About Project A Ventures
Project A Ventures is a Berlin-based early-stage investor and company builder in the digital technology space. With financial support and operational expertise, Project A helps startups to build up competences in key areas such as IT, Performance Marketing, Business Intelligence and Organization Building, and thus contributes to their sustainable success. Project A has supported entrepreneurs in building companies such as Tirendo, nu3, Glow, Eyeota, World Remit and Tictail. More about Project A Ventures on http://www.project-a.com/ and on the blogs http://insights.project-a.com/ and (lnk: http://goto.project-a.com/ text: http://goto.project-a.com/).