Wallapop raises US$191M for its classifieds marketplace | FI SENSE

WALLOP

Wallapop, a virtual marketplace based out of Barcelona, Spain that lets people resell their used items, or sell items like crafts that they make themselves, has raised $191 million at current rates, money that it will use to continue growing the infrastructure that underpins its service, so that it can expand the number of people that use it.

Wallapop has confirmed that the funding is coming at a valuation of €690 million ($840 million) a significant jump on the $570 million pricetag sources close to the company gave us in 2016.

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

The company currently has 15 million users  about half of Spain’s internet population, CEO Rob Cassedy pointed out to us in an interview earlier today  and it has maintained a decent No. 4 ranking among Spain’s shopping apps, according to figures from App Annie.

The startup has also recently been building out shipping services, called Envios, to help people get the items they are selling to buyers, which has expanded the range from local sales to those that can be made across the country. About 20% of goods go through Envios now, Cassedy said, and the plan is to continue doubling down on that and related services.

Wallapop’s growth in the past year is the result of some specific trends in the market that were in part fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. All of them have helped build up a profile for the company as a kind of upscale, virtual car boot sale or flea market.

People spending more time in their homes have been focused on clearing out space and getting rid of things. Others are keen to buy new items now that they are spending more time at home, but want to spend less on them, perhaps because they are facing employment or other economic uncertainty. Yet others have found themselves out of work, or getting less work, and are turning to becoming entrepreneurs and creating their own products to sell in a more grassroots way.

In all of those cases, there has been a push for more sustainability, with people putting less waste into the world by recycling and upcycling goods instead.

At the same time, Facebook hasn’t really made big inroads in the country with its Marketplace, and Amazon has also not appeared as a threat to Wallapop, Cassedy noted.

All of these have had a huge impact on Wallapop’s business, but it wasn’t always this way. Cassedy said that the first lockdown in Spain saw business plummet, as people faced severe restrictions on their movements, unable to leave their homes except for the most essential duties like buying food or getting themselves to the hospital.

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

“We entered the year with incredible momentum, very strong.” But he noted that the drop started in March, when “not only did it become not okay to leave the house and trade locally but the post office stopped delivering parcels. Our business went off a cliff in March and April.”

Then when the restrictions were lifted in May, things started to bounce back more than ever before, nearly overnight, he said.

“The economic uncertainty caused people to seek out more value, better deals, spending less money, and yes they were clearing out closets,” he said. “We saw numbers bounce back 40-50% growth year-on-year in June.”

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