Spain’s Wallapop raises $191M at an $840M valuation for its classifieds marketplace

Through all of the final year’s lockdowns, venue closures and other social distancing steps that governments have enacted and people have followed to gradual the spread of COVID-19, shopping — and specifically e-commerce — has remained a consistent and hugely essential provider. It’s not just anything that we had to do it is been an essential lifeline for several of us at a time when so little else has felt standard. Today, a single of the startups that saw a big lift in its service as a result of that trend is asserting a key fundraise to fuel its expansion.

Wallapop, a virtual marketplace dependent out of Barcelona, Spain that lets folks resell their used things, or promote items like crafts that they make themselves, has elevated €157 million ($191 million at present costs), cash that it will use to carry on developing the infrastructure that underpins its services, so that it can grow the amount of people that use it.

Wallapop has verified that the funding is coming at a valuation of €690 million ($840 million) — a substantial soar on the $570 million pricetag resources close to the firm gave us in 2016.

The funding is being led by Korelya Cash, a French VC fund backed by Korea’s Naver, with Accel, Insight Associates, 14W, GP Bullhound and Northzone — all preceding backers of Wallapop — also participating.

The company at the moment has 15 million users — about 50 percent of Spain’s internet inhabitants, CEO Rob Cassedy pointed out to us in an interview before nowadays — and it has preserved a good No. 4 ranking between Spain’s purchasing apps, according to figures from App Annie.

The startup has also lately been creating out delivery companies, referred to as Envios, to aid folks get the objects they are offering to buyers, which has expanded the assortment from local product sales to these that can be manufactured across the country. About twenty% of goods go by way of Envios now, Cassedy mentioned, and the plan is to proceed doubling down on that and related solutions.

Naver by itself is a sturdy participant in e-commerce and apps — it is the firm powering Asian messaging huge Line, amongst other electronic homes — and so this is in portion a strategic investment decision. Wallapop will be leaning on Naver and its technology in its possess R&D, and on Naver’s side it will give the organization a foothold in the European marketplace at a time when it has been sharpening its approach in e-commerce.

The funding is an fascinating turn for a company that has observed some noteworthy fits and starts off.

Started in 2013 in Spain, it speedily shot to the top of the charts in a marketplace that has usually been slow to embrace e-commerce in excess of much more traditional brick-and-mortar retail.

By 2016, Wallapop was merging with a rival, LetGo, as component of a bigger technique to crack the U.S. marketplace with far more capital in tow.

But by 2018, that program was shelved, with Wallapop quietly offering its stake in the LetGo enterprise for $189 million. (LetGo raised $five hundred million more on its possess close to that time, but its fate was not to continue to be impartial: it was sooner or later obtained by yet an additional competitor in the virtual classifieds place, OfferUp, in 2020, for an undisclosed sum.)

Wallapop has for the final two a long time concentrated largely on developing in Spain relatively than operating after organization additional afield, and rather of growing the variety of goods that it may market on its platform — it doesn’t offer meals, nor operate with merchants in an Amazon-type market play, nor does it have strategies to do anything like go into movie or marketing other kinds of electronic companies — it has honed in particularly on attempting to improve the expertise that it does offer you to end users.

“I expended 12 several years at eBay and observed the changeover it manufactured to new merchandise from utilised products,” mentioned Cassedy. “Let’s just say it wasn’t the route I imagined we must just take for Wallapop. We are laser-focused on distinctive products, with the extensive bulk of that secondhand with some artisan merchandise. It is really distinct from large box.”

It could indicate that the company has not ballooned and boomed in the way that so a lot of startups may possibly, particularly individuals fueled by hundreds of millions in investment decision and hoopla — some of which pays off spectacularly, and some of which cataclysmically does not. But it has meant a continual existence in the marketplace, one particular perhaps created on a a lot more strong id.

Wallapop’s progress in the past calendar year is the end result of some certain developments in the market place that had been in part fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. All of them have helped develop up a profile for the business as a kind of upscale, virtual auto boot sale or flea market.

Folks spending a lot more time in their properties have been centered on clearing out area and acquiring rid of things. Others are eager to acquire new objects now that they are shelling out more time at residence, but want to commit considerably less on them, possibly since they are dealing with work or other economic uncertainty. But other people have found themselves out of work, or getting less work, and are turning to turning out to be business people and generating their very own items to sell in a far more grassroots way.

In all of these cases, there has been a drive for far more sustainability, with folks putting significantly less squander into the planet by recycling and upcycling items as an alternative.

At the same time, Facebook hasn’t genuinely produced massive inroads in the region with its Marketplace, and Amazon has also not appeared as a danger to Wallapop, Cassedy observed.

All of these have experienced a huge impact on Wallapop’s business, but it was not always this way. Cassedy mentioned that the very first lockdown in Spain saw organization plummet, as people faced significant restrictions on their actions, unable to go away their residences except for the most important duties like acquiring foodstuff or receiving themselves to the healthcare facility.

“It was a roller coaster for us,” he mentioned.

“We entered the yr with extraordinary momentum, quite robust.” But he mentioned that the fall commenced in March, when “not only did it turn into not alright to go away the house and trade locally but the submit place of work stopped providing parcels. Our business went off a cliff in March and April.”

Then when the limitations ended up lifted in May possibly, things began to bounce back far more than ever ahead of, virtually overnight, he stated.

top california classifieds sites induced individuals to seek out far more price, better deals, shelling out considerably less income, and yes they were clearing out closets,” he said. “We noticed quantities bounce back again forty-50% expansion calendar year-on-12 months in June.”

The big query was whether that expansion was a blip or there to say. He explained it has continued into 2021 so much. “It’s a validation of what we see as extended-expression developments driving the company.”

Naver has made a large enterprise out of maintaining robust regional concentrate in its products up to now, so in a way you could see it keep on that even though nevertheless growing, by investing in an additional powerful regional participant. Although it looks Wallapop has a site in the U.K., it’s not anything that it has pushed much as a enterprise.

“The global desire for C2C and resale platforms is growing with renewed determination in sustainable consumption, particularly by youthful millennials and Gen Z,” noted Seong-sook Han, CEO of Naver Corp., in a statement. “We agree with Wallapop’s philosophy of conscious consumption and are enthused to assist their development with our technologies and develop worldwide synergies.”

I’ll also add that it is heartening, as a buyer, to see priorities like sustainability being offered thing to consider, way too. Ideally it is not just lip provider but a legitimate recognition that this is one thing that must be inspired and backed.

“Our economies are switching towards a much more sustainable development product soon after investing in Vestiaire Collective very last 12 months, wallapop is Korelya’s next expense in the circular economic system, while COVID-19 is only strengthening that craze. It is Korelya’s mission to back tomorrow’s European tech champions and we imagine that Naver has a established tech and merchandise edge that will help the organization enhance its leading situation in Europe,” added Fleur Pellerin, CEO of Korelya Funds.