Marketplace start-up TradeSquare secures $28m funding from US investor

Two latin shopkeepers using touchpad working at clothing store.

Australian online wholesale marketplace start-up TradeSquare has secured $28 million in funding from US investment firm Tiger Global.

New York-headquartered Tiger specialises in the digital sector and was a key investor in the Australian consumer marketplace platform Catch, which was sold to Wesfarmers in 2019.

After the sale, former Catch CEO Nati Harpaz and his business partner, entrepreneur Einat Sukenik, saw an opportunity to develop a B2B marketplace platform in 2020 resulting in the launch of TradeSquare. It now boasts more than 1000 suppliers, offering 150,000 SKUs and has more than 10,000 registered buyers.

“This investment will allow us to scale in a very significant way and build upon our rapidly growing business proposition and model, our use of smart technology, and the strong executive team that we have put together,” Harpaz said.

The business model was a timely arrival on Australia’s business scene after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of trade shows, and limited in-person sales calls.

“The old way of bringing wholesalers and retailers together was trade shows or overseas buying trips, but these disappeared during COVID,” Sukenik said. “You can think of TradeSquare as a 24/7 digital trade show – allowing retailers to easily discover and order wholesale products, and wholesalers access to retailers Australia-wide.

“TradeSquare is a key player in making Australia’s economy fairer and healthier by empowering the small businesses to easily discover and order wholesale products,” Sukenik added. “Yesterday a gift and homeware shop in Dubbo placed an order from 11 wholesalers in one cart, with one invoice and 60-day credit terms. This is a game-changer, especially with COVID still restricting retail business activity.”

Sukenik said that convenience, data and community are three key factors contributing to growth in independent retail and the investment from Tiger Global will allow the business to create “an exceptional B2B experience for retailers and wholesalers through smart technology”.

The TradeSquare model allows businesses to buy goods from multiple vendors with a single onboarding process rather than establishing supplier contracts and completing credit checks with each individual vendor.

“Our terms have been developed to answer the challenges that small businesses in Australia have been facing,” Sukenik noted, “and they will continue to evolve in the coming years.”

As Australian entrepreneurs themselves, Harpaz and Sukenik understand the challenges facing local businesses in the wake of COVID.

“We have lived through the hard knocks of running a business in Australia and come out the other side,” Harpaz said. “That’s where we stand apart. Australia can be a rugged environment for retail businesses.”

This story first appeared on our sister publication Inside Retail