Riding the e-commerce wave: Aussie startup Marketplacer secures $20 million, and gears up for US expansion

MarketPlacer

Marketplacer co-founders Jason Wyatt and Sam Salter. Source: supplied.

Aussie startup Marketplacer has bagged $20 million in funding, for its tech helping traditional retailers (and new entrants too) stay abreast of the e-commerce revolution.

The funding comes from repeat investors Acorn Capital, AFIC, Bombora Investment Management, Morgans Financial and SG Hiscock.

New backers, including Endeavor Asset Management, Ellerston Capital, OC Funds and Lennox Capital Partners, have also jumped on board.

Founded in 2016, Marketplacer was essentially established to licence the marketplace technology co-founders Jason Wyatt and Sam Salter were using to run their other business: cycle marketplace BikeExchange.

Now, the startup counts the likes of Aussie retail giant Myer among its customers, as well as Petstock, Metcash, Jayco and Bob Jane T-Marts.

The tech allows retailers to “supercharge their commerce journey,” Wyatt tells SmartCompany.

Myer, for example, was a very traditional retailer that could sell only the products it had in its own warehouse.

“We plugged our technology in and enabled them to connect up 300 new suppliers and 70,000 new products … into the Myer ecosystem,” he says.

And the model works for new entrants too.

The founders worked in partnership with renowned chef and restaurateur Shane Delia to build Providoor, a platform allowing Melbourne’s restaurants to sell meals online during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We built it within five weeks, and after a 12-week period, we were on a $100 million run rate,” Wyatt says.

Out of the chaos

This latest round also follows a $20 million raise closed in December last year. Since then, the business has seen a 300% jump in gross merchandise value on the platform, as well as a 110% increase in revenue.

Now, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely reshaped the retail space, and Marketplacer has been in a good position to meet the emerging needs of the businesses within it.

“I think there’s a generational behavioural change,” Wyatt explains, “not only in consumers and the end buyer, but also in business leaders around the world”.

Initially, COVID-19 caused “a bit of chaos” for retailers. But, especially for those that have become set in their ways, it provided an opportunity to take a step back and reassess.

Consumer behaviour is changing irreversibly, and businesses have to change too if they’re to stay relevant.

“We just make it easy,” Wyatt adds.

“It’s a very complex space that we’ve tried to bring simplicity into, to enable not only entrepreneurs, but business leaders to really be able to grow in a really simple way.”

Global goals

Now, Wyatt and the team are focusing on growth, and on continuing to capitalise on the changes in the retail sector.

The COVID-19 shift towards e-commerce is affecting retailers of all shapes and sizes, he notes, and, he’s already seeing demand from many of them.

“There wouldn’t be many retailers in the country we’re not deep into conversations with.”

But, they’re also focusing on expanding into the US, with plans to open offices in New York and San Francisco.

And, some of the funding will go towards investment in the product, making it accessible to more customers in as many sectors, and for as many use cases as possible.

Ultimately, Wyatt believes there’s potential for an ASX listing on the horizon. This would be a good business to take public, he suggests.

“It’s very good metrics behind it, it’s got some great customers that are going to organically grow … we think it could be a very, very successful Australian listing.”

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