Bonanzle announced this Thursday that it closed a $1 million round of investment, led by Seattle angel investor, and Voyager Capital Venture Partner, Geoff Entress, and with participation from Voyager Capital, Matrix Partners, Ignition Partners, Founders Co-op, Curious Office and other prominent Seattle angel investors. As part of the financing, Entress has joined the Company’s board of directors.
Bonanzle launched in September of 2008 as a marketplace emphasizing niche categories and real time interaction between buyers and sellers, and has since grown to nearly two million monthly unique visitors.
Founder and CEO Bill Harding describes Bonanzle as “an online street fair,” featuring unique capabilities like real-time chat between buyers and sellers, and weekend sales that bring together the community.
“While people like to compare us to eBay, we’ve really gone in the opposite direction. Rather than building around the largest so-called “power sellers”, we’ve created a marketplace that caters to smaller merchants who are passionate about a few, carefully selected items. And because they know their products better than anyone, we want to help those merchants get closer to their buyers, as if the buyer were visiting a mom and pop store.” says Harding.
As a result of Bonanzle’s focus on more selective and passionate sellers, Harding explains that products such as handmade jewelry, second hand clothing, and unique baby gear have rocketed in popularity.
“This is the stuff that big, impersonal ecommerce marketplaces aren’t getting right today – where the browsing and communication are as satisfying as the purchase itself. As we like to say, it makes for an experience that is ‘everything but the ordinary.’“
With about 250,000 registered users and three million items available for sale, Bonanzle has emerged as a leader from a crowded field of person-to-person online marketplaces. While Bonanzle does not disclose their monthly sales, lead investor Entress noted that the company has been profitable since February 2009, with sales growing more than 300% in the past year.
Asked about Bonanzle’s future growth, Entress commented:
“Bonanzle’s organic growth to this point has been consistently strong, yet has always been constrained by the size of the development team. When you have an opportunity to build a product that can improve the person-to-person shopping experience by 10x, it makes sense to accelerate development to capture that opportunity. Bonanzle’s scale has already put it at the forefront of “social selling” – this financing can let the company continue to grow.”
Harding’s near term focus is growing the Seattle team, particularly in areas of development and project management. “There’s no end of exciting work here, particularly in streamlining communications between buyers and sellers,” says Harding. “We are just getting started.”
Full disclosure: I am an ex-eBay seller and have been a Bonanzle seller since July 16th 2008, the Beta days. I am pro-Bonanzle. I do not drink Kool Aid. This is a press release.
Y’all come back!
Xconomy - Bonanzle Raises 1M - Gregory T. Huang, April 29th 2010