Marketplace platform raises $20 million
Bombara Group, Acorn Capital, SG Hiscock and Mirrabooka Investments have invested in the technology company, which launched in 2016 and now has more than 60 customers, including Bob Jane T-marts, Jayco and Petstock.
Funds will be used to accelerate product development and innovation, acquire long-term strategic customers and attract talent to enable the business to scale internationally in the future, according to a statement from Marketplacer.
“The key for us now is to secure some generational clients,” Jason Wyatt, Marketplacer’s CEO and MD, told Inside Retail.
A growing number of retailers have launched their own online marketplaces in recent years, drawn by the opportunity to expand their range – and acquire new customers – without having to buy, warehouse and ship inventory themselves.
It has proved to be a lucrative move for the likes of Catch, which turbo-charged its sales after it launched Catch Marketplace in 2017, and Kogan, which called its marketplace a “transformational step” for the business.
Australia Post, in its annual e-commerce report, called 2017 the “year of the marketplace” after it found that marketplaces had grown 74.8 per cent, more than three times as fast as online overall at 18.7 per cent.
This has created a growing market for the likes of Marketplacer, which provides technology for retailers to launch online marketplaces as a service.
“It’s the buy versus build argument,” Wyatt said.
While online retailers like Catch and Kogan built their own marketplace platforms, this may not be feasible for established retailers that don’t have large in-house tech teams.
Wyatt said the retailers that are launching marketplaces today are not necessarily thinking they can compete with the likes of eBay and Amazon, but rather taking a more “modern” approach to the business.
“It’s not that these businesses are waking up and saying, ‘I’m going to be the next Amazon’. But they’re saying, ‘Why can’t I start to think and act in a more modern way and not have to physically own and ship everything myself,” he said.
“All businesses are constrained by lease footprint and access to capital. If they can build the customer base up and connect third-party sellers into it, they can scale without limits. That’s what a marketplace type of strategy enables them to do.”