Rebellion in the Marketplace (Reverb.com)
— By Carmel Deamicis, PandoDaily, November 19, 2013
Carmel Deamicis, a writer at PandoDaily, covered Propllr client Reverb.com’s Series A funding with a broader look at how the company – and others of its ilk – are a threat to eBay.
- Founder track record – The story notes David Kalt’s prior startup successes, but without going into great detail.
- Personal reason to launch startup – Kalt, who owns renowned guitar dealer the Chicago Music Exchange, launched Reverb to fight eBay and PayPal’s terrible user experience and fees. “The high 10 percent commission cost and eBay’s horizontal system frustrated him. He wanted better search options, more music-specific categories, a cleaner layout, and other features catering to music lovers.”
- Unmet need – Reverb gives musicians and collectors are user experience eBay can’t match: “Compared to the clutter of an eBay auction, the Reverb experience is downright luxurious. There’s no sponsored advertisements, and on each item page Reverb pulls in similar items so users can compare prices. It has nailed curation, with detailed category lists like “Japanese Vintage Guitar” or “Weird Gear” that you would never find on eBay.”
- Timeliness – The article was the result of Reverb’s $2.3 million Series A round, but tied in a good deal of other “vertical eBays” that are rapidly gaining traction.
- Quick comparison – By competing with eBay Reverb is compared to eBay, but other groups are mentioned, most notably Etsy.
- Disruptive – “Compared to the clutter of an eBay auction, the Reverb experience is downright luxurious.”
- Clear value proposition – The article doesn’t directly state it, but elements of the value proposition are mentioned throughout it.
- Referenceable clients – No clients mentioned, but a list of named investors included “Eric Ries, Lightbank, and a few rock stars: Rick Nielsen of the band Cheap Trick and David Lowery of Camper van Beethoven.”
- Client stories – No client stories mentioned.
- Metrics – Kalt shares growth metrics, and the reporter speculates on specific sales numbers.
- Third-party endorsement – Navin Chaddha, managing director at Mayfield Fund, is quoted from his TechCrunch article on marketplace 2.0 features, in which he cointed the acronym “ACCESS: accessibility, curation, community, efficient commerce, simplicity, and symmetry.”
- Trendiness – A few trends included: curation, “2.0” and marketplaces.
- Healthy skepticism – “Reverb has a long way to go before its reaches sustainable success. One conflict it might hit that companies like StubHub or Etsy wouldn’t is customer retention rate. How often does someone buy a really sweet guitar? Probably not as often as they might shop for artisan goods or attend an event. Reverb is tackling what is in some ways a very narrow market, more so than most vertical resale companies.”
For more information on the Anatomy of a Startup Profile series, click here.