Catawiki, Europe’s fastest growing auction house, today announced a 75 million euro investment round led by the American investor Lead Edge Capital. The previous investors Accel Partners, Project A Ventures and the Dutch N.V. NOM are also again taking part in this investment round. Other investors include Peak Capital, media and internet entrepreneur Willem Sijthoff and various former senior managers of Booking.com, such as Arthur Kosten, former CMO. This is one of the biggest investments ever made in a Dutch internet company.
René Schoenmakers (CEO) and Marco Jansen (CTO) started Catawiki as a community in which collectors could buy and sell their collectors’ items such as comic books and postage stamps. Since then more than 60 auction categories have been added and Catawiki is now Europe’s most important facility for buying and selling exceptional items. The most popular categories at the moment are art, jewelry, vintage cars and watches. Recently auctioned items include: the very first Tintin album from 1930, a hair of Napoleon, an E-type Jaguar, the jawbone of a T-Rex and a bottle of Romanee-Conti Grand Cru dating back to 1975.
This new investment round follows on quickly from the previous investment of 10 million euros in September 2014, since when Catawiki has grown impressively. During the past 12 months the company has seen its turnover increase by 300% and the number of auction categories doubled in which over 15,000 notable lots are auctioned every week. Italian and Spanish language versions were recently launched.
A unique aspect of Catawiki is that the auctions are compiled by a team of almost 100 specialist auctioneers. They appraise all of the offered lots so that the auctions are guaranteed to feature a varied and high quality range. That makes Catawiki a reliable place for buyers to find unique items and for sellers to make use of a successful sales channel in view of the large number of international bidders.
Schoenmakers: “Our growth over the past year shows that people are looking for new and better ways of buying and selling exceptional items. We’ve grown very quickly since the last round of investment in 2014. This new investment makes it possible for us to continue to improve our service and enter new markets. The time has now come to floor the accelerator and seize this fantastic opportunity with both hands.”
Catawiki will be using the investment mainly to strengthen its presence in existing markets and expand into new ones in Europe and the rest of the world. To facilitate this Catawiki is planning to put a world class development team together and is looking for the world’s best developers for this purpose. As well as developers, Catawiki is looking to recruit hundreds of other people such as auctioneers and sales and customer support staff for various languages.
Mitchell Green, Managing Partner at Lead Edge Capital: “Lead Edge has a lot of experience with investing in successful online marketplaces. We were attracted by Catawiki’s efficient business model, the huge market they’ve penetrated and the high level of satisfaction among its users. We are therefore very enthusiastic about helping Catawiki to achieve further growth.”
Michiel Kotting, Partner at Accel: “When we met René and Marco for the first time the main thing that struck us was their passion and decisiveness. These qualities have been important ingredients for Catawiki’s growth. It’s great to see how popular Catawiki has become since our first investment. It therefore gives us as a company great pleasure to continue to help to meet the international demand.”
Willem Sijthoff, supervisory director: “Catawiki has undergone an impressive development, both in strategic terms and in market expansion. Accel’s investment round in 2014, following the seed round of Peak Capital and NOM and the current Lead Edge Capital mean that Catawiki is now ready to take the next step in its global expansion. I’m proud to have been able to make a contribution from the Supervisory Board and look forward to the coming period.”
As part of the investment Lorrie Norrington, Operating Partner at Lead Edge Capital and former President of eBay Marketplaces will be appointed as an advisor at Catawiki. With her experience she has a lot of advice to offer on the further development of Catawiki as a global marketplace. As well as Lorrie Norrington, Arthur Kosten, member of the board, is an important advisor of Catawiki. Kosten was one of the driving forces behind the explosive international growth of Booking.com.
Catawiki is currently employing 200 people in five different countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Great Britain. The auctions open every Friday at 12 o’clock and end at a fixed evening in the week. Bidding always opens at 1 euro, which makes it attractive to join in.