The significant boom has been fuelled by a rise in innovation and adoption as a result of the pandemic and record-breaking levels of VC investment, according to new figures.
Data taken from The Future of Marketplaces report – the first in an upcoming series of reports compiled by Dealroom.co on behalf of Adevinta Ventures, the investment arm of Adevinta, a global online classifieds specialist and investors Speedinvest – show that marketplace unicorns are now worth a combined total of £3.53T and there are 30 marketplaces, globally, that are worth more than £14.1B.
Year-on-year, marketplace unicorns growth has outpaced both the Nasdaq – which grew 50% during the same period – and the MSCI World Index. In fact, marketplace unicorns grew 2.5 times more than the wider market, which saw growth of 23% across the board. Marketplace unicorns that were founded after 2005 have been growing even faster than those companies founded before this point.
Among the categories that saw the most substantial valuation growth in the wake of coronavirus, fashion jumped by 142%, followed by food delivery (132%) and digital health (120%). This was a continuation of the trend highlighted in last summer’s The Marketplaces Report, which found healthtech, online learning, recruitment, food delivery and passion economy startups were seeing the most significant growth off the back of COVID-related shifts in consumer and business behaviours.
During the first three months of 2021, global VC investments in marketplaces reached an all-time high of £19.8B, driven in part by a number of mega-funding rounds and the emergence of SPACs, as investors sought new ways to gain access to fast-growing privately owned tech companies.
Q1 investment in marketplaces has been almost three times the amount invested in the same period during 2020, and £2.8B more than the previous record-breaking quarter of Q4 2018. Of this record-breaking figure, the majority of investments focused on logistics and last-mile delivery services.
Notable rounds include digital convenience store Gopuff’s £849M Series G raise in March 2021 – the second-largest round of the quarter across all sectors and industries; £567M raised by used-car marketplace, Cazoo; and food delivery firm, Wolt’s £375M Series E round. Investment in Q2 continues to be high, with £8.49B of VC money pouring into the sector in the first five weeks of Q2, including money raised by Travelperk (£113M), Kry (£220M) and BlaBlaCar (£81M).