VarageSale has raised a $34 million Series B round led by Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
VarageSale was 2014’s Startup of the Year.
Carl Mercier, the co-founder and CEO of VarageSale, says what sets VarageSale apart is that it’s locally focused and users are identified by their real names.
“People love transacting with real people,” he says, “in a friendly environment.” Because people use their real identities, Mercier says VarageSale has become a “safe, trusted environment.”
The site is divided into “communities,” most of which correspond with real-world neighbourhoods and towns. In order to be able to buy and sell in many of those communities, users must be approved by an administrator, adding an extra layer of scrutiny and keeping things locally focused.
On the platform itself, users can comment on the items posted by sellers. It’s particularly reminiscent of Facebook. This has led the site to become something of a social network, Mercier says, something that caught him a little by surprise.
“You go to Kijiji or Craigslist when you’re looking for something specific,” he says. “You don’t go to Craigslist to hang out.”
That’s exactly what’s happening tough. Part of it is the fact the site is “very fast-paced,” Mercier says. “People come back all the time to see if there’s a great deal.” But sometimes the comments on an item will just turn into a conversation.
The site hasn’t started to monetize and Mercier says his main focus is on “growing very quickly.”
Version One Ventures, run by Boris Wertz in Vancouver, invested a seed round in the company in 2013.
“We’ve grown 400% since this time last year, and we will continue to build the best team possible to meet the expectation of our extremely passionate member base,” says Mercier.
With files from Jacob Serebrin.