Real Ventures’ Janet Bannister joins VarageSale’s board


Janet Bannister, founder of Kijiji, joins VarageSale board following rapid period of growth for Toronto-based company (CNW Group/VarageSale)

Toronto online marketplace VarageSale has appointed Janet Bannister, a partner at Canadian venture capital firm Real Ventures, to its board of directors. Bannister, who joined Real Ventures in 2014, is a Kijiji founder. VarageSale said she will help it scale across North America and support its monetization strategy. VarageSale, which provides an app to buy and sell used items locally, also reported a doubling of its user base in 2016. Founded in 2012, the company is backed by Real Ventures, iNovia CapitalLightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Version One Ventures and others.

PRESS RELEASE

VarageSale Experiences Record Growth, Appoints Kijiji Founder to Board

‘Real identity’ approach fuels rapid growth for community-based online marketplace

TORONTO, May 18, 2017 /CNW/ – On the heels of a record-breaking year of growth in Canada that has seen a doubling of its user base, VarageSale, the community-focused buy/sell app, today announced the appointment of Kijiji founder Janet Bannister to its board. Bannister, a partner at venture capital firm Real Ventures, will work closely with the Toronto-based company to help scale across North America and aid in its evolution of a long-term monetization strategy.

VarageSale’s growth capitalizes on the 58 per cent year-over-year uprise in mobile shopping in Canada, making the sector one of the fastest growing app categories in the country. And with the nation’s advancing second-hand economy, now worth a reported $29 billion according to a 2017 study conducted for the Université de Québec à Montréal, Bannister is set to bring a wealth of first-hand knowledge to VarageSale.

“VarageSale is a truly compelling business, serving the very core of what today’s consumers are looking for when it comes to online shopping,” says Bannister. “Trends show us that more and more Canadians are going second-hand, every day – with most gravitating towards marketplaces based on safety and a sense of community. These are the foundations VarageSale is built on.”

With a social-led product geared around consumer preferences for safety, VarageSale has experienced an unprecedented surge in users, over 80 per cent of which are female.

Having recently commissioned a market survey of 800+ Canadians, VarageSale’s insights further qualify the company’s proactive focus on its real identity of users. The proprietary approach, which verifies profiles via Facebook Connect and an additional manual review process, screens users before they can buy and sell within local communities.

According to VarageSale’s insights:

One in five Canadian women have never used an online classifieds site or app, with the overwhelming majority of those noting concerns over safety as the reason
Four out of five Canadian women say that safety is the top feature they consider when choosing a local classifieds site or buy/sell app, ahead of proximity of listed items and sellers, ease of search, and liquidity of items
“VarageSale is now the leading buy/sell app in Canada for women. Ninety per cent of VarageSale users are mobile-first, and 45 per cent of app users come back five to six times a day – many for multiple years,” says Andrew Sider, CEO of VarageSale. “Our unique business strategy enables us to break into new markets by targeting underserved consumers, thereby establishing us as the most relevant platform for local communities. We’ve now achieved this in multiple cities across Canada.”

The company’s prioritization of real identity has resulted in more accountable buy and sell experiences for VarageSale users – with ensuing faster, easier transactions assisting in its rapid growth. VarageSale’s unparalleled market position, carved from this safety-first notion, has allowed it to disrupt the norm of competitors which typically focus on anonymous dealings.

“VarageSale’s position in the online classified space is unique,” continued Bannister. “The company’s unrivalled organic growth makes it a pivotal and exciting time to be joining the board. The plan is to help continue VarageSale’s extended growth trajectory and ever-advancing market position, cementing its place as Canada’s leading, safety-first online marketplace.”

VarageSale’s year-over-year organic growth is underlined by high demand for a mobile-first, socially-driven buy/sell marketplace among Canadians. The company now plans to extend its investment efforts, product development and marketing initiatives.

About VarageSale:
Designed by a mom, VarageSale is the family-friendly app to buy and sell used items locally. Founded in 2012, it has millions of members in local communities across Canada, United States and beyond. VarageSale is free to use at varagesale.com and on the mobile app, which is available on iOS, Android and Kindle devices. The company is based in Toronto and funded by investors including Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Real Ventures.

For further information: Jennifer Lui, jennifer@varagesale.com, 416-527-1850

Photo courtesy of CNW Group/VarageSale

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