Consumer/Analysis/

European VCs set for big payday after Depop deal

Depop's founders are set to walk away with $100m after the company was acquired by Etsy.

By Freya Pratty

Credit: Depop founder Simon Beckerman

Some of Europe’s top venture capital firms are set for a big payday after secondhand fashion app Depop announced its acquisition by Etsy.

Etsy said on Wednesday that it will pay about $1.6bn for Depop, primarily in cash, as the handmade goods marketplace expands its portfolio to younger consumers. 

That means a payday for Depop’s leadership, as well as the VC firms that have backed the company over the past decade, including General Atlantic, Balderton Capital, Creandum and Octopus Ventures. 

It’s also potentially a sign that exiting to foreign buyers can be a viable exit option for European tech successes. In recent years about 70% of acquisitions of European tech companies have been by European buyers, according to Dealroom data

According to Beauhurst and Companies House, German firm HV Capital (formerly Holtzbrinck Ventures) is the largest shareholder. 

The fund first invested €500k in a 2012 seed round, according to Dealroom figures, and followed on in later rounds. The fund’s stake is currently worth close to $300m. 

Balderton Capital, which also participated in the seed round, currently owns just over 11% of the company, making its stake worth $185m. 

Depop’s founder, Simon Beckerman, owns slightly over 4% of the company, making his stake worth over $68m. 

The amount that the company’s CEO, Maria Raga, owns is less clear, though the latest data from Companies House suggests her share is also around 4%, meaning she could expect the same payout as Beckerman.

“While there are always multiple drivers for acquisitions, we’ve now seen two UK companies acquired by US giants in the space of a week — both with a clear focus on engaging Gen Z,” say Alliott Cole, coCEO at Octopus, and Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus, referring to Depop and Snap Inc.’s announced acquisition of AR startup WaveOptics. The UK investment firm first invested in Depop in 2017. 

“This is potentially just the beginning, as I think we’ll see lots more deals of this nature, with large, established companies moving quickly to acquire the technology and brands required to reach the next generation of consumers.”

Depop was founded in Milan in 2011 by Italian Simon Beckerman. Headquartered in London, the company has over 30m registered users in more than 150 countries. 

Depop is not the only successful European secondhand fashion app. Lithuanian unicorn Vinted recently raised a Series F at a €3.5bn pre-money valuation.

Both Vinted and Depop have grown as younger generations shift towards buying more used clothing amid concerns about the environmental impact of fashion — and as a way to get the latest trends on the cheap.

Beckerman might be a multimillionaire after the sale, but he still has his store on Depop. He most recently sold a pair of Nike Air Max 97s for £130.00.

Freya Pratty is Sifted’s news reporter. She tweets from @FPratty

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