categories

HOT TOPICS

Subscribe to our Feed

Billion Dollar Unicorns: OfferUp Still Needs to Figure out Revenue Model

Posted on Wednesday, Mar 2nd 2016

I have always questioned sky-high valuations in the absence of a justifiable business model. One such company is local Peer-to-Peer commerce player OfferUp. Over the last five years, the company has achieved the Billion Dollar Unicorn status within the local P2P market, without even figuring out how to earn revenues.

OfferUp’s Offering

OfferUp was founded in 2011 when new fathers Nick Huzar and Arean van Veelen were trying to sell some of their old stuff. They soon realized that it wasn’t very easy to trade in used products locally. They came up with the idea of OfferUp with a vision to make local P2P commerce as easy as taking a photo. Within a few months, the company had launched its website and its iOS App. Since then, it hasn’t looked back.

Today, OfferUp’s users can browse through the locally available products without signing up for the service. To transact or communicate with the seller, they need to sign up for free with the site. For posting ads, the user just needs to take a photograph of the product they wish to sell and upload on the site with payment and other details. Ads without images are not allowed on the site. OfferUp also allows users to rate a transaction to help others in ascertaining answers to questions like if the item was described accurately, or was the transaction friendly?

To ensure safety for its users, OfferUp promotes TruYou – a feature that allows users to scan their ID which is then validated by OfferUp. Users can also sign up and validate their Facebook pages to instill more trust in themselves.

OfferUp v. Craigslist

Like its biggest competitor Craigslist, access to OfferUp’s listings is available for free. But unlike Craigslist, OfferUp currently does not have any monetization model. Craigslist earns revenues through paid ads that appear on its website. According to a study by AIM Group, Craigslist was estimated to have earned $381 million in revenues in 2015 and converted $300 million of that into profits. Meanwhile, OfferUp has enabled transactions of goods worth over $3 billion through its platform, but it hasn’t recorded any revenues so far. OfferUp’s biggest advantage over Craigslist lies in its adaptation to the mobile world. The Craigslist user interface is still very old-school and does not do well on mobile. But OfferUp has been designed with mobile devices in mind. Its app has been downloaded more than 12 million times. The company does not give statistics about usage.

OfferUp’s Financials

OfferUp does not disclose any financial performance or give any insight into its targeted performance. It has been venture funded so far with $93 million in funding raised from investors including T. Rowe Price, Allen & Company, Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue Management, HLVP, Jackson Square Ventures, Tiger Global Management, and Vy Capital. Its last funding round was held in November 2015 when it raised $15.8 million at an undisclosed valuation. An earlier funding round in May 2015 is estimated to have valued them at more than $1 billion. Just for comparison, Craigslist was rumored to have a valuation of over $3 billion last year when eBay sold its 28.4% stake back to Craigslist at $850 million.

OfferUp has no defined plan of earning revenues, but it appears to be evaluating some models. It is considering the option of earning revenue by enabling payments over the app. But these are still early discussions. For now, the company is focusing on simplifying the buying and selling transactions.

More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.

This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns


. How Marketo Is Faring In The Public Market
. Workday's Ramp to Multi-Billion Valuation
. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 1)
. ServiceNow's Expanding Market Opportunity
. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 2)
. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 3)
. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 4)
. Tableau's Valuation Increases to $6 Billion
. A Rare Media Venture Called Vice
. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 5)
. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 6)
. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 7)
. Will Box Implode Post IPO?
. Net-a-Porter Cracks The Luxury Fashion Market
. Outbrain Prepares for an IPO
. Palantir's Skyrocketing Valuation May Be Justified
. Online Education Player Lynda.com
. Pluralsight's Impressive Rise
. Snapchat Explores Revenue Generating Options
. Analysts Project Revenue for Pinterest
. The Market Awaits Etsy's IPO
. Taboola's Content Marketing Growth
. Egnyte Eyes IPO in 18 Months
. Web 3.0 and E-Commerce Investment Thesis of 3 VCs
. Cleversafe's Unique IP Strategy
. Cloud Investment Thesis of 5 VCs
. GoDaddy Shying Away from IPO, Yet Again
. Can Square Sustain Its Valuation?
. Zulily Tumbles
. MuleSoft Will Be Joining Soon
. Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later
. ShopClues in India Shows Unicorn Characteristics
. What Have You Learned?
. ASOS Shines From London
. Xiaomi Overtakes Samsung in China
. eClinicalWorks Bootstraps With A Paycheck
. Strategies From 5 Entrepreneurs
. Lending Club Focuses on Growth Post IPO
. Slack Speeds Its Way To The Mark
. Eventbrite Shies Away from an IPO
. Meituan Leads China's Group Buying Market
. Gilt Groupe Delays IPO
. Veeam Wants To Stay Private
. Nextdoor's Valuation Skyrocketing With No Sign of Revenues
. Stripe Exploring Tie-Ups for Growth
. HubSpot Sustains Solid Growth Post IPO
. Shazam Makes it to the Club
. OnDeck Scoring in Small Businesses Instant Loans
. Fat Startup Adaptive Insights Leading in Cloud CPM
. Cloudera Leverages Open-Source Hadoop to Create a Multi-Billion Dollar Business
. Evernote Cracks the Freemium Model
. Rocket Fuel Crashes on Results
. MongoDB Rises High on NoSQL Databases
. Shopify Preparing for an IPO
. JustFab Getting Ready for an IPO
. Kabam to Stay Private?
. Adyen Bootstraps to Multi-Billion Valuations
. RetailMeNot Worries About Mobile Monetization
. Elance-oDesk Taking on the Freelance World
. Farfetch Connecting Designers with Consumers
. The Impressive Story of Airpush
. athenahealth Enters the EHR Market
. Privalia Dominates the Latin America Markets
. Niche E-Commerce Works for Fanatics
. Powa Puts London on the Map
. RealReal Shows How to Consign Luxury Products
. Vancl On A Roller Coaster Ride
. Didi Dache is China's Uber
. Dafiti Leading E-Commerce in Latin America
. ServiceNow Expands Addressable Market
. Flipboard Focuses on Monetization
. Hootsuite Eyes an IPO
. GoodData Riding High on Big Data Analytics Market Growth
. Cheetah Mobile Part Of Chinese Contingent
. Hortonworks Needs To Deliver Results
. Clarabridge Wins by Analyzing Customer Sentiment
. Tableau Continues its Precise Execution
. Will Cloudera Sustain $5 Billion Valuation Post IPO?
. Freshdesk is a Prospect
. InMobi Wants to IPO in India
. Zendesk Targets the Live Chat Market
. New Relic Getting Ready to Battle with Microsoft
. Twilio is Revolutionizing Telecommunications
. Funding Circle is UK's Latest Entry to the Club
. Luxury Retailer Moda Operandi on the Club's Runway
. Splunk is Now Targeting the SMB Segment
. Capital-Efficient StartApp Is A Prospect
. AppNexus In The IPO 2015 Pipeline
. Druva Poised to Produce an Indian Unicorn
. MapR Readies IPO
. Lookout Getting Ready for an IPO
. Anaplan Gets Ready to Enter the Club
. Blue Apron Simplifies DIY Gourmet Cooking
. GoFundMe Bootstraps till the Half-Way Point
. Containers Gives Docker Entry into the Club
. Can Kaltura Be A Public Unicorn?
. The Ride-Sharing Industry Continues to Deliver Unjustifiable Valuations
. MarkLogic Making Waves in Enterprise NoSQL
. CloudFlare Offers Website Security over the Cloud
. Mixpanel Provides Advanced Analytics for SMBs
. Spotify Gearing up to Face Apple Music
. Auction.com in Expansion Mode
. Nutanix Gives VMWare Tough Competition
. Houzz Bootstraps in a Niche Space to Join the Club
. Rapid7 Delivers a Successful IPO
. Coinbase Tries To Capitalize on BitCoins
. Expect Acquisitions From ServiceNow
. Zendesk and Freshdesk in Expansion Mode
. Zulily Attempts to Make a Turnaround
. Etsy Continues to Fumble
. Lufax May be Risky, But Valuations Remain Lofty
. Will IBM Acquire FireEye?
. Mode Media Takes on Video Streaming
. New Relic Moves Deeper into Enterprise
. Delivery Hero Gets Multi-Billion Dollar Valuation for Food Delivery
. Splunk Beefs Up Cyber Security
. Garena Secures Singapore's Entry to the Club
. Dianping is Thriving in China with its Local Reviews Business
. Box Struggles in its Public Avatar
. Coupang Raises the Banner for South Korea
. InsideSales.com Bootstraps First, Raises Money Later
. Pinterest Eyes E-Commerce
. Klarna Takes the Risk out of E-Commerce
. VNG Grows While Remaining Focused on Vietnam
. Good, Bad and Ugly
. Sprinklr Rolls up Social Media Management Software Before IPO
. ContextLogic Marries Wish Lists to Vendors
. Beepi Disintermediates Used Car Dealerships
. Snapchat Experiments With Revenues
. Tanium Simplifies Cyber Security
. Avant is Revolutionizing Consumer Credit
. Adyen is on a Roll
. Apttus Ready for IPO
. ZScaler Takes Security to the Cloud
. Bullhorn is in the Making
. Sogou a Unicorn, But Yet to Find its Mojo
. Evernote Trying to Recover Lost Ground
. Modernizing Medicine Is A Prospect
. Instacart Looks Shaky
. Mogujie's E-Commerce Pivot Pays Off
. Zalando Takes the Lead in European Etail
. BlaBlaCar Expands Internationally with Acquisitions
. Square Files for IPO Below Last Round of Financing
. Secretive Infinidat Makes its Way to the Club
. FanDuel Creates a Billion Dollar Company out of Fantasy Sports
. Kabbage Latest Unicorn in Slowing Online Lending Sector
. Atlassian Now Prepping for a US Listing
. Match.com Looking to Court the Stock Market Now
. Ele.Me Shows Online-2-Offline Works
. Alteryx is a Prospect
. Machine Zone Translates Multi-Player Games to Multi-Billion Valuation
. ZocDoc Should Be Able To Withstand Public Market Scrutiny
. Thumbtack Joins the Ranks
. Beibei the Baby of the Club
. Online Lender SoFi Puts Off IPO Plans
. Warby Parker Joins the Club
. DraftKings Looks Worried as Fantasy Sports Come Under Scrutiny
. Tujia Offers Vacation Rentals in China
. Hortonworks Struggles to Stay in the Club
. Atlassian, A Legitimate One, Delivers A Great IPO
. Reconsider Your Aspirations
. Will Docker Sustain?
. Veeva Delivers Strong Fundamentals
. OfferUp Still Needs to Figure out Revenue Model
. Mozido Delivers Mobile Payment to Non-Banking Customers
. SimpliVity a Prospect
. WePiao Succeeds in Online Ticketing in China
. Uptake Joins the Club
. For Magic Leap, Unicorn Status No Longer Virtual
. Udacity Leans on Industry Giants for Monetization
. ForeScout Does Not Want To Go Public Yet
. ShopClues Joins the Club
. Age of Learning Monetizing in Educational Apps
. Square Post Its IPO
. Decolar is the Latin American Entry to the Club
. Japan's Mercari Joins the Club
. Yello Mobile Acquires its Way into the Club
. TutorGroup Enters the Club
. Souq.com the Middle East Entry to the Club
. WeWork Riding the Sharing Economy Wave
. Moderna Therapeutics A Promising, Unproven Bet
. GitHub Faces Growing Pains
. Africa Internet Group the First African Entry to the Club
. Paytm Plans Rapid Expansion
. Oscar Plans to Expand Its Network
. Razer Leads the Gaming Accessory Market
. GuaHao Targets China's Healthcare
. AUTO1 Group Plans International Expansion
. TransferWise Makes Money Transfer Simpler and Cheaper
. Ping An Good Doctor Is Largest Chinese Healthcare Unicorn
. MindMaze Channels Virtual Reality into Healing
. Driverless Car Startup Zoox Joins The Club
. Cylance Uses Machine Learning as Cyber Security Tool
. SMS Assist Brings a Lackluster Industry to the Club
. Unity Technologies a Strong VR Gaming Bet
. Square Eyeing Large Sellers
. Airbnb Continues to Soar
. Xiaohongshu Leverages Social Commerce to Join the Club
. iCarbonX Wants to Create a Digital You
. Liepin, China's Homegrown Recruitment Platform
. Hike is the Latest Entrant from India
. Go-Jek Hails its Way into the Club
. Quanergy Rides Into the Club
. Aiwujiwu Rides High on Chinese Real Estate Sector
. Zeta Interactive Counts on Inorganic Growth
. Line Delivers a Successful IPO
. Grab from Singapore is the Next Big One
. Didi Chuxing Monopolizing Chinese Ride-Sharing Market?
. Blippar Bets on Its Visual Browser
. Two Years Post the IPO, Globant Continues to Soar
. Nutanix Delivers a Strong Performance in the First Week of Listing
. Coupa Has a Successful IPO
. Online-to-Offline Focus Helps Huimin Enter the Club
. Real Estate Platform Compass Joins the Club
. LeSports Cashes in on Niche Video Streaming
. Flipkart's Valuation Bodes Unsteady Future
. Russian Avito Gearing up to go Public
. Guazi Leading the Chinese Online Used Car Market
. Slack Delays IPO to Next Year
. Sprinklr Acquiring to take on Big Brands
. Infor Accumulates ERP Providers to Build an Empire
. Royole Corporation Flexes its Way into the Club
. Rong360.com Joins the Club
. Stripe’s Skyrocketing Valuation
. Hulu Gears up to Stream Cable
. Nutanix Delivers Upbeat Performance, Stock Still Down
. Procore Joins the Club
. JetSmarter Flies Into the Club
. Opendoor Labs Opens the Door to the Club
. Neo Technology Takes Databases to the Next Level
. Kabam Struggles to Stay Alive
. Careem is the Latest Middle East Unicorn
. Huochebang is the Uber of Trucks in China
. SimpliVity Exits in HPE's Arms
. Kendra Scott Shows that Women CAN Build Unicorns
. Zhihu Imitates Quora to Build a Valuation Without Revenue Company
. Putting Flipkart's Struggles in Perspective
. BlackLine Continues to Grow Post IPO
. Global Switch Wants to be Leader in Data Centers
. AppDynamics Sold Before IPO
. MuleSoft Delivers Successful IPO
. Alteryx has a Successful IPO
. Airbnb is in no Rush to IPO
. Actifio Focuses on Profitability, not IPO
. In Uptake, Groupon Founder Shows He Has Learnt His Lesson
. Will Cisco buy Nutanix?
. Zoom Video Communications Enters the Club
. C3 IoT Joins the Club
. Robinhood Joins the Club
. Veeva Systems Executes Systematically
. Modernizing Medicine Crosses $100 Million Revenue Threshold
. Stripe is in no Rush to List
. Cloudera Fails to Keep the Market Happy
. Stitch Fix Delivers a Surprisingly Fresh Take on Shopping for Fashion
. Bill.com Has Scaled Quietly
. Toutiao Snags a Big Round, But Growth and Revenues Remain Tricky
. Taboola and Outbrain Exploring a Merger
. Looker Counts on Big Data Analytics
. Katerra Tackles the Construction Industry with Technology
. Peloton Cycles Into the Club
. Yello Mobile Delays IPO
. Kuaishou to Focus on AI
. Garena Files Privately in New Avatar
. Clover Health Reaches Milestone Valuation
. Careem Focused on MENA
. DraftKings Faces Hurdles
. Sales AI Startup Afiniti Considering IPO
. Ticket Monster To Invest In Groceries
. Yext Makes it to the Club and on the Exchange
. Rubrik Gears up to go Public
. Pinterest Delays its IPO Plans
. Valuation Without Revenue Nextdoor Trying to Monetize
. Delivery Hero Goes Public Albeit Huge Losses
. Newly Public Redfin Wants to be the Amazon of Real Estate
. VIPKid is the Newest Kid in the Club
. Nutanix Making a Comeback
. Fanatics now Eyeing Asia
. Valuation for Unity Technologies Keeps Soaring
. AvidXchange Eyeing IPO
. AppDirect Cashes in on Cloud
. Ele.me Consolidates Market, but Profits Elusive
. Valuation for WeWork Continues to Soar
. CrowdStrike Joins the Club
. TransferWise Turns Profitable
. Is Cybereason the Next Cyber Security Company to get Acquired?
. Yuanfudao, China's First EdTech Unicorn
. Coupa Close to 52-Week High
. What Are AUTO1's Margins?
. Is Houzz's Valuation Justified?
. Apttus Eyeing an IPO

Hacker News
() Comments

Featured Videos