Wallapop emerged 10 years ago as a crazy idea that aimed to change everything. Three entrepreneurs wanted to innovate in the classified ads sector and bring the typical flea market to the mobile phone. In a very short time, they received funding, and today the platform stands as one of the main references in the online sale of second-hand products, with 15 million monthly users and hosting 180 million products for sale.
Today we tell you the history of Wallapop: the app that combines online sales, social networks, and geolocation.
The history of Wallapop begins with Fleapster
It can be said that the history of Wallapop started in June 2013 thanks to the enthusiastic collaboration of three people: Agustín Gómez, Gerard Olivé (founder of BeRepublic) and Miguel Vicente (founder of LetsBonus), who wanted to revolutionize the classified ad business and bring the typical market of old to new mobile platforms.
Thus, Fleapster was born, or what could be called the first version in Wallapop’s history. The truth is that the creators were not too happy with the name, they wanted a catchier one. That’s why in September of that same year, their creation became known as Wallapop definitively.
And soon financing arrived at Wallapop.
A few months after its launch, in October 2013, Wallapop obtained 1.6 million euros in financing from the startup accelerator Antai Venture Builder (in which Vicente and Olivé were involved) and other investors such as Caixa Capital Risc, Esade Ban and Bonsai Venture Capital.
In just 5 months, it had one million downloads, one million products uploaded and transactions on the platforms that could reach a value of 300,000 euros a day were being talked about. And the financing flows continued to come to Wallapop.
In early 2014, several media groups (Godó, Zeta and Atresmedia) injected another 1.3 million euros into the company as part of an agreement called ‘Media for Equity’. In particular, they signed agreements with Wallapop for exchange of advertising for shares, which allowed the mentioned groups to participate in its shareholding in exchange for giving Wallapop advertising spaces.
A successful advertising campaign
This investment represented a significant qualitative leap to Wallapop’s success that the company took advantage of well. They were aware that they needed an advertising boost, so they carried out an advertising campaign that, in addition, set the basis for future platform campaigns.
More financial injections in Wallapop’s history
The impressive growth in users that Wallapop was experiencing led the company to close a new round of financing at the end of 2014, this time from abroad, with Accel Partners (a fund that had invested in the initial phases of Facebook, Dropbox or Kayak). The American investor injected around 3.5 million euros and provided 20% of Wallapop.
From this point on, foreign investment was massive. In 2015, a round led by Insight Venture Partners (shareholder of Twitter or Tumblr) injected 36 million euros into the company. This represented one of the largest rounds of financing in the Spanish start-up sector.
Despite all these financial injections, Wallapop still had the same problem, revenue, as it still was a business model that operated without income. Its founders, therefore, decided in October 2016 to put the company up for sale for 1 billion euros to boost its growth around the world, but this did not happen.
Wallapop merges with Letgo
In addition to constant growth, expansion to other countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Mexico or the USA also materializes on these dates. In the latter country, in mid-2016, it merged with Letgo, a similar but more popular company there. , to dominate the US market and thus make worthy competition to other platforms such as Ebay or Craigslist.
In this way, Wallapop began to function under the management of Letgo in the US. This new joint venture increased its financing by around 90 million euros (100 million dollars) from the shareholders of the two technology companies.
2018: a new stage with Rob Cassedy at the helm
Wallapop’s evolution continued on the right track and it gradually introduced many new features, such as the modalities of payment announcements or Wallapay (an alliance with Correos to improve the operation of its shipments) with the aim of improving the service to its users), or its entry into proptech, adding to its extensive catalog the option of buying or renting homes.
And, to continue driving the growth of the company, at the beginning of September 2018 Wallapop welcomed Rob Cassedy, an executive from eBay Germany who replaced Agustín Gómez, who took over the role of President.
As Cassedy explained in his first remarks after the appointment: “I am delighted to join Wallapop at this exciting stage in its evolution and look forward to working with a great team that has demonstrated a strong track record in customer-focused innovation.”
Wallapop weathered the storm and beat the pandemic
The arrival of the pandemic and the confinement as a consequence seriously affected the activity of the second-hand goods buying and selling startup at first. However, Wallapop was able to bounce back, as Rob Cassedy explained at the time: “Economic uncertainty made people look for more value, better deals, spend less money and yes, they were cleaning out the closets. We saw the numbers pick up with 40-50% year-on-year growth in June.”
One service that undeniably stood out in 2020 was Wallapop Envíos, a home delivery service, which experienced a 50% increase in activity once restrictions were eased. Likewise, during Black Friday, the income of Wallapop Envíos increased by 240%, and received 17 million visitors throughout November.
Finally, Wallapop managed to close 2020 with revenue growth of more than 50%, a sign of the consolidation of its monetization channels and its business model.
Wallapop closes its biggest round and establishes a technological alliance with Naver
In February 2021, Wallapop closed its biggest funding round. The operation worth 157 million euros, raised the company’s valuation to 690 million, and was led by Korelya Capital, a French venture capital fund, and by Naver, the main Internet portal in South Korea.
This injection of resources was used to strengthen the platform, improving the user experience, to continue promoting Wallapop Envíos and to design products and services for small businesses and entrepreneurs. All this in order to continue expanding the presence of the app in the Spanish market.
Another of the objectives was to facilitate the collaboration between Naver and Wallapop, since the former’s technology would boost the latter’s capacity for innovation. Seong-sook Han, CEO of Naver Corp., hinted at the implications this investment would have on Wallapop’s future technological development: “We agree with Wallapop’s philosophy of conscious consumption and are excited to support its growth with our technology. and develop international synergies.”
Wallapop’s latest round raises its valuation to €771M
In mid-January 2023, Wallapop added a new round of financing, this time worth 81 million euros. Which increased its valuation to 771 million, placing it one step closer to the 1,000 million needed to obtain the title of unicorn. At the head of the operation, we find ourselves again with Naver and Korelya Capital.
The main objective was to allocate the capital raised to continue promoting the expansion of Wallapop nationally and internationally. The latter for Italy and Portugal, countries where he landed in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Objective 2024: in search of profitability
Although Wallapop closed its 2022 financial year with a turnover of more than 72 million euros, 40% more than it billed in 2021 (when its turnover had already increased by 65% compared to 2020), the losses continue to be high. In 2021 these were already around 34 million euros (3 million more than in 2020).
That is why, despite the fact that its turnover has increased progressively in recent years, this is not enough for Wallapop to achieve profitability. A problem that has been going on for years. But, from the company they have already announced that they are working to achieve profitability, forecasting that they would enter benefits from 2024 and during subsequent years.
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