Vinted, the Lithuanian giant for second-hand clothing between individuals, has just bought a major European competitor. With the acquisition of Dutch United Wardrobe, Vinted consolidates its market share and receives an impressive customer file. The Lithuanian startup, founded in 2008, is already represented in 11 European countries and the USA. In particular, it will consolidate its presence in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany. Countries where the United Wardrobe platform was well established. The amount of the buyback has not yet been announced.
Vinted and United Wardrobe, a shared vision of the circular economy
France remains the most fertile playground for Vinted, a country where the takeover of its competitor can add 1.1 million members. An acquisition promoted as the completion of a shared vision of circular economy and more responsible fashion. “We are in the middle of a boom in global e-commerce and second-hand fashion is benefiting from this boom,” said Sjuul Berden, CEO of United Wardrobe. “By partnering with Vinted, we can take full advantage of this growth and together contribute to accelerating the global movement towards a more sustainable fashion industry.”
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A bell sounds similar to the management of Vinted: “We have met several times and are immediately enthusiastic,” says Thomas Plantenga, the head of Vinted. “Our way of working and our qualities are very comparable. Instead of competing with each other, it seemed much more logical to us to join forces. “To ensure the transition, the Dutch actor’s management teams will be kept at the top. Sjuul Berden (CEO), Maud Behaghel (Director of Operations) and Thijs Slijkhuis (Technical Director) will keep their positions in management positions.
Vinted claims to have 34 million users (including United Wardrobe’s) in 13 countries. Colorful numbers were published on the platform last year: 1.3 billion euros of clothing were traded on it. It was the sixth most downloaded application in France in 2019. A year ago, Vinted completed its fifth fundraising campaign for a record € 128 million. With this financing round, the Lithuanian startup reached its billion mark and was one of the European unicorns. We found it a little earlier this year on this map of the European startups that raised the most funds.
Twelve years after it was founded, Vinted is implementing its first external growth strategy, which previously focused exclusively on organic growth. “A few years ago we just bought the database of a Spanish company that no longer wanted to be active in Europe,” explains Thomas Plantenga, CEO of Vinted. “Working through acquisitions is not the new strategy, however. The potential for organic growth is still very real. We still have very big ambitions. We are currently examining in which country we could expand. “
Another player who, despite a bumpy history, is profiting from the rise of e-commerce
While the second wave of Covid-19 is rocking the old continent and hitting certain industries directly, others are taking advantage of the e-commerce boom to boost their business. Vinted is therefore one of those e-commerce platforms that react to changes in consumer habits. In the second quarter of 2020, the Lithuanian startup ranked sixth among the most visited e-commerce websites in France, especially ahead of Carrefour. Although she stalled with the first wave of coronavirus that forced her to cease activities in March, vital signs are excellent.
This wasn’t always the case as Vinted went through a tumultuous period a few years ago. Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas are at the origin of Vinted. When the first had to deal with a move and a stash of clothes in 2008 that she no longer knew what to do with, her friend Justas suggested that they develop a resale site. Given the success of the concept, Vinted was born in the form of a second-hand clothing exchange platform. Seven years later, in 2015, the startup is faced with financial difficulties despite the procurement of 50 million euros. At that time, the Dutchman Thomas Plantenga was called to Vinted’s bedside. After the sails were drastically reduced (the offices in London, Munich, Paris and San Francisco were closed) and the business model was redesigned (free service for sellers, commission of 5% of the purchase price of the item plus 7 cents), Vinted is profitable again and Thomas Plantenga has since been appointed CEO.