Used-goods marketplaces, an online staple for the reason that starting of the web as we all know it, have actually come into their very own through the Covid-19 pandemic: they’ve been a spot for folks clearing out their home areas to checklist gadgets that they’ve which can be nonetheless in good condition, making some cash within the course of; and for consumers, they’re a useful resource for locating gadgets at a time when procuring in individual and spending cash in unsure financial instances have each fallen out of favor. Today, MPB — a well-liked marketplace that focuses on used cameras and photographic equipment — is asserting vital funding to double down on the chance after seeing its platform “recirculate” some 300,000 gadgets of equipment globally annually and cross £100 million ($139 million) in revenues this 12 months.
The Brighton, England-based startup has snapped up £49.8 million (about $69 million at present alternate charges). It plans to use the cash each to broaden into extra markets — it at the moment has workplaces in Brooklyn and Berlin — and into extra product areas, particularly, extending the marketplace idea to serve content material creators.
The Series D is being led by Vitruvian Partners, with vital participation from Acton Capital, and Mobeus Equity Partners, Beringea and FJ Labs additionally collaborating. Vitruvian is a brand new backer for MPB; the remainder have been already invested within the startup, which has raised round $91 million since 2011.
MPB didn’t disclose its valuation in a press release on the fundraise; we’ve got contacted the corporate to ask and can replace if / after we be taught extra.
For some context, that is the biggest-ever spherical raised by a startup out of Brighton. Home to one college and proper subsequent to one other, Brighton has had some tech world focus — Brandwatch made a splash in February when it was acquired by Cision for $450 million; and it’s well-known for gaming firms and expertise — however has largely been off the fundraising radar, maybe partly as a result of it’s so shut to London and its personal gravitational pull for entrepreneurs and VCs. PitchBook put MPB’s valuation at $50.86 million in 2019; it’s probably to be considerably larger than this now.
“This funding round is a major milestone for MPB, culminating a decade of strong performance and a vision to make great kit accessible and affordable,” mentioned Matt Barker, MPB’s founder and CEO, in a press release. “With the backing of Vitruvian Partners and those reinvesting in our business, we can accelerate our US and European growth strategy at scale, profitably. Photography and videography are intrinsic to societies and cultures all over the world, and at MPB we have created a circular model that offers everyone the chance to be visual storytellers and content creators in a way that’s good for the planet.”
Indeed, what’s fascinating about MPB is the way it touches on and addresses various themes which have been taking part in out the world over of e-commerce and wider digital society, and what’s in all probability made it profitable has been its enchantment to folks on a number of of these fronts on the similar time.
First, there’s the platform it provides to folks to promote and purchase used camera equipment. The sale of used gadgets provides homeowners a possibility to generate income off gadgets they not want, and consumers a means to procure gadgets at decrease prices. And it has an apparent environmental angle to it, since round financial system operators encourage folks to get extra life out of electronics that may in any other case merely turn into a part of landfill (or encourage extra manufacturing of recent items of their place).
But on a extra sensible stage, used-good gross sales even have typically put folks off partly as a result of they’re disadvantaged of a few of the ensures that you’d usually get on items when shopping for from extra established retailers.
MPB gives shopping for and vendor safety in its personal means: by using a staff of individuals to vet and put together gadgets on the market, and offering a six-month assure on gadgets bought over its platform. That has paid off for it even pre-pandemic: the corporate mentioned that its compound development charge during the last 5 years has been 53%.
(And extra usually, used items marketplaces are seeing some huge consideration from VCs in the meanwhile in Europe: in February, Wallapop in Spain raised $191 million for its extra generalised used-goods marketplace, and in March Vestaire Collective raised $216 million.)
Second, it touches on the larger pattern we’ve seen across the development of communities centered on particular somewhat than basic pursuits. It’s a transparent means of conferring extra authenticity, focus and sign in an in any other case very noisy world online, and in a specialised space just like the sale of images equipment, this may be particularly important and a novel promoting level over extra generic gross sales platforms like eBay: it means extra consideration paid by the platform to inventory, in addition to a extra centered neighborhood of consumers and sellers.
Third, there’s the main focus of MPB specifically. We have most positively seen the delivery of a “creator economy” online, the place individuals are making livings out of their very own manufacturers (ugh), or from their particular inventive output, bypassing a few of the extra conventional middle-men in favor of newer ones (eg, community broadcasters not the only real gatekeepers for serialized video content material and all the work that goes into making it; YouTube conversely now makes a killing off it, and if Substack, Patreon and others prefer it play their playing cards proper, they’ll quickly, in their very own areas of curiosity, too.)
What this may imply for firms like MPB is a surge of curiosity and a spotlight on equipment for capturing these photos, though will probably be fascinating to see how and if that may be leveraged on a wider scale, given how a lot of that creation as we speak is going on on smartphones, which themselves proceed to get extra subtle and eat into not simply informal photographers’ shopping for patterns, however extra critical ones, too.
In the query of scaling, MPB could have an fascinating accomplice within the type of Vitruvian Partners, which backs second-hand garments marketplace Vestiaire Collective — which raised $216 million last month, one other signal of the instances and the way they’ve boosted the alternatives for used-good gross sales — alongside different marketplaces like Carwow, Just Eat, Farfetch, Skyscanner and Trustpilot.
“MPB has developed a unique tech-enabled platform to meet a market need, transforming access to photography kit to become a global leader in its field, whilst building a product that genuinely has a positive impact on the world,” mentioned Tom Studd, accomplice at Vitruvian Partners, mentioned in a press release. “Matt and the team have achieved strong and profitable growth through recent launches in the US and Germany, and we’re delighted to partner with them for the next step of the journey. Vitruvian looks to back exceptional teams with unique products in large markets, and we believe Matt and the team fit those criteria perfectly.”
Sebastian Wossagk, managing accomplice at Acton Capital, added: “It’s always a privilege to watch companies like MPB grow and excel in their field. Matt and his team have already taken the first steps into internationalisation by opening locations in Brooklyn and Berlin, and we’re excited to support them as they pursue further expansion in both the US and Europe.”
Something notable about MPB is that Barker once said that he based it partly as a result of he didn’t really feel that the necessities of individuals within the images neighborhood have been being addressed effectively sufficient by extra basic websites like eBay or Gumtree. That should be the case for these two websites (and numerous different generic gross sales platforms), nevertheless it doesn’t imply that there are usually not various different gamers addressing the used-photography equipment market. They embody the likes of Worldwide Camera Exchange, Park Cameras, Camera World, and lots of others with equally Website positioning-friendly names. That represents alternatives for consolidation, aggressive risk, and hopefully innovation for higher providers, but additionally an indication that there’s extra to this market than may meet the attention.