We've run several stories on e-commerce site Bonanzle in the past. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a site where many disgruntled eBay users turned for an alternative place to sell their goods. Last year, it reached a million listings in 6 months and was voted the best eBay alternative according to Examiner.com. Growth continued from there, with the company surpassing 100,000 registered users in September, representing 5,000% growth in a year.
WebProNews got an email from Bonanzle CEO Bill Harding, letting us know the company has just closed a $1m round of funding, with who he says are "many of Seattle's top investors and entrepreneurs."
Have you sold on Bonanzle? Tell us what your experience was like.
The funding is led by Seattle angel investor, and Voyager Capital Venture Partner, Geoff Entress, and includes additional funding from Voyager Capital, Matrix Partners, Ignition Partners, Founders Co-op, Curious Office, and others from the Seattle area.
"For 'normal' startups, raising money from investors is usually one of the first matters to get taken care of. If not for the strong support of our community and dear old Google search, we would have needed to do this a year ago," says Harding. "But because of Bonanzle's fast-spreading reputation (and thus sales), we have been able to bide our time and wait until we saw a deal that was simply too good to pass up."
Just as with eBay, Bonanzle's users are quite passionate in their opinions about the site, whether that be for better for worse. We've had quite a range in comments about Bonanzle, just as we have with eBay, and while not all of them have been glowing, I have to say Bonanzle's have been much more balanced.
No matter which way you feel about the site, it's hard to deny Bonanzle is having an impact in the world of online selling. That impact has shown tremendous growth in the past, and with this new funding, it is likely to continue at a faster pace than before.
Harding looks at the funding as a way to continue growth, which he says the company owes to its sellers. "So many Bonanzle users have spent countless hours setting up their booths, marketing their items on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, and have done all they can to build a successful business on Bonanzle," he says. "For the people who have stuck with us as we've grown, we want to prove our commitment to doing everything in our power to ensure that the time spent booth building is rewarded with a user experience that continues to improve, and continues to deliver an ever-growing number of buyers over time."
As one would imagine, eBay is not an easy site to compete with. While it has its fair share of disgruntled users, it is still one of the top brands in online selling. In fact, recent research from Nielsen found it was one of two brands (the other being AOL) that benefited the most from an uptick in Americans’ internet habits in March.
According to Harding, there will be increased speed at which the company can fix bugs and create a better user experience. Among Bonanzle's first priorities is a plan to make sure everything works that "real users" expect it to. The funding should help with resources in this regard.
Do you think Bonanzle has what it takes to bring real competition to eBay? Share your thoughts.