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Marketplacer, Airtasker attract big investments

Two Australian online marketplaces have attracted big investments, as backers get behind the fast growing businesses.

Marketplacer has secured a second round of funding worth $11 million, led by well known Australian businessman Gerry Ryan. The capital raising is the second major round of funding for the business, following a similar raising of $10 million in June last year.

The funds will be used to accelerate global growth with a focus on global marketing, product development and securing acquisition and alliance opportunities as and when they arise.

Marketplacer operates five online marketplaces: BikeExchange, Tini Trader, House of Home, Outdoria and Tixstar which collectively receive 3 million visitors per month, an increase of more than 133 per cent from July last year. It also licences its platform technology to third party partners who want to pull together an online community into a marketplace.

Jason Wyatt, MD of Marketplacer, told Internet Retailing they have signed a major international brand, yet to be named, which will use Marketplacer’s technology to launch its own online marketplace. 

“We see ourselves as a sophisticated enterprise-level marketplace solution,” Wyatt said.

“Our 12-month vision for the group hasn’t changed. We still aim to grow our business by partnering with companies and people who are interested in creating globally lucrative marketplaces.”

In the last 12 months Marketplacer has signed a further 1170 retailers, taking the total to 2203 and now delivers over $600 million a year in leads to retailers. The group has increased its global presence with the opening of an office in Belgium and are in the process of opening offices in both England and Ireland. The team is also about to kick off a road show in the US to launch Marketplacer’s offer to the North American market, visiting major trade shows in Chicago, New York and Las Vegas. 

Seven West takes a stake in Airtasker
Services marketplace, Airtasker, has raised $22 million in a series B round led by Seven West Media with significant follow on investment from existing shareholders, Shanghai-based Morning Crest Capital, Sydney-based VC fund Exto Partners and National Road and Motorists Association (NRMA).

As part of the deal, Seven West Media have secured a 15 per cent stake in Airtasker and will provide media support and investment to drive the platform’s growth.

The round significantly deepens NRMA, Morning Crest Capital and Exto Partner’s investment in Airtasker. Last year, the trio served as cornerstone investors in a $6.5 million raise. Since founding in 2012, Airtasker has raised a total of $32 million in capital.

The four year-old startup will use the additional funding to further develop its core marketplace product, with the aim of growing Airtasker into a household name for local consumer services. The funding will also be used to build on Airtasker’s world class technology team that will underpin its growing platform.

“Whilst we’ve seen rapid organic growth over the past year, we’re only scratching the surface of a multi-billion opportunity —  we still have a huge way to grow in Australia alone,” said Tim Fung CEO of Airtasker.

Since May 2015, Airtasker has more than doubled its total number of users from 250,000 to more than 600,000 community members and grown transaction volume to more than $40 million per year. It has also made key appointments, hiring Paul Keen (former CTO, Dick Smith) and CJ Foo (former CEO, Delivery Hero Australia) alongside co-founder and COO Jonathan Lui in leading a world class team of online marketplace experts.

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