Melbourne startup Envato climbs up the rankings of the world’s best marketplaces

Envato

Envato co-founders Cyan and Collis Ta'eed. Source: supplied.

Melbourne startup Envato has been named Australia’s top marketplace by Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, and the 32nd best in the world — putting the Aussie business 12 spots above its ranking in the inaugural list last year.

The now-annual a16z Marketplace 100 is based on data from analytics company Bloomberg Second Measure, which analyses billions of purchases to track real-time consumer behaviour.

Envato chief executive Hichame Assi said making the list — and the top half at that — “solidifies our reputation as a leading independent brand supporting creativity around the world”.

Founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, Envato runs several marketplaces for web designers. As of November 2020, over 81,000 creatives had made more than a combined US$1 billion through the platform.

In the 2019-20 financial year, Envato made operating profits of about $18.75 million, 20% of which was distributed back to its 600 staff members. That equated to a $6,250 boost per employee.

At the end of 2020, co-founder Collis Ta’eed step back chief executive after 14 years, handing over to Assi.

a16z Marketplace 100

Making international lists like this one positions Envato for international success in the future, Assi said in a statement.

“We’re not comfortable with just being an Australian success story.”

The number-one marketplace was named as grocery delivery platform Instacart, which accounts for just over 70% of the total gross market value of the entire list.

That was followed by games development platform Valve in second place and — perhaps surprisingly — home rental marketplace Vacasa in third.

A sneaker sales marketplace and pet sitting marketplace took the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

In the report, authors D’Arcy Coolican and Brandon Barros noted that 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic was “a gut-punch” for many businesses in the marketplace category. Ticketing marketplaces for events along with childcare marketplaces, for example, saw a significant downturn.

“However, many marketplaces proved to be extraordinarily resilient — a testament to the flexibility of the model,” the authors wrote.

This was evident in marketplaces that allowed people who were laid off during the pandemic to monetise their skills, and that allowed for food deliveries, online learning and second-hand retail therapy.

Some 25 of the businesses are new entrants on the list. Five of those operate in the food, beverage and groceries categories, while others span, travel, fashion, shopping and even cannabis.

Envato was also one of only 12 companies featured that are headquartered outside of the US, and the only representative of the Asia-Pacific region.

Four businesses are headquartered in Canada and two are UK-based, while France, Brazil, Israel, Austria and Lithuania each had one company in the ranking.

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