AMSTERDAM and NEW YORK, July 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
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
Catawiki, Europe's fastest-growing online auction house, 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.
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."
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.