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From Teen Student Entrepreneur in Australia to a Mature Global E-commerce Entrepreneur: Mike Rosenbaum, CEO of Spacer (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Nov 11th 2021
Mike Rosenbaum, CEO of Spacer

Mike started his journey as a 14-year old student entrepreneur, then built a $20M eBay PowerSeller business. Thereafter, he built a $100M e-commerce business. Today, he’s building a two-sided marketplace business. All from Australia. Wonderful story!

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Mike Rosenbaum: I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. My first step in entrepreneurship was in high school when I was fourteen or fifteen. My best friend at school had started something. The web was just coming to be. We saw that you could build websites. We started offering our services to small businesses and started making pocket money.

Sramana Mitra: Were you doing this full-time? Were you still a student?

Mike Rosenbaum: We were both in high school. We were doing this after school when we should have been doing our homework. We were doing it on weekends and holidays. Our first clients were associates of my dad. My dad had been in the corporate world for a long time in the automotive industry. He got us our first client or two. From there, it snowballed. We had more work than we could keep up with. It was just a very good side income for a fourteen-year-old.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do for college?

Mike Rosenbaum: I started doing a business degree. It only lasted a year. I realized that I had enough of learning from books. I wanted to learn by doing. Around that time, I was 19. It was around 2000. I met my business partner. He had this live auctioneering background. He approached eBay Australia when they’d just launched here. We started a business called AuctionBrokers. We became the first PowerSeller on eBay in Australia. We built that to a $20 million business over the next three or four years. We were the biggest sellers in eBay Australia and top 10 worldwide. We went to eBay conferences. 

Sramana Mitra: You didn’t need to do college. You basically decided that you wanted to do your eBay selling. Let me ask you a few details about that business. What kind of products were you selling?

Mike Rosenbaum: We started off selling for computer companies – IBM, Dell, Acer. Then we moved to electronics. These were high-value and in-demand products. We were auctioning them on eBay. People were outbidding the retail price. It was an exciting time. We were helping the brands sell their end-of-life stocks. When they brought new stocks to the market, they didn’t want that to muddy the waters. They wanted consumers to buy the newest items.

Sramana Mitra: Was it a consignment deal?

Mike Rosenbaum: It was pure consignment. We were literally brokers. We did the listing, collected the money, and did customer support. What was interesting was these corporates could ship pallets of stuff to stores but weren’t very good at B2C. We realized quite quickly that if we wanted to grow, we had to handle that. We took a warehouse. 

This segment is part 1 in the series : From Teen Student Entrepreneur in Australia to a Mature Global E-commerce Entrepreneur: Mike Rosenbaum, CEO of Spacer
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