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British online marketplace OnBuy to spread wings into GCC countries by October

Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy
(Image credit: OnBuy)

British online marketplace OnBuy is planning to spread wings into 142 countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in a bid to become a global player.

Speaking to TechRadar Pro Middle East, Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy, said that UAE and Saudi Arabia are emerging markets and offer new growth opportunities for sellers and customers. 

He said that the UAE and Saudi Arabia will go online in September or October and added that the markets are enormous and are set to grow further and neither of the Amazon or Noon is truly global.

Amazon focuses only on 19 countries.

“The UK is extremely saturated and when we launched the marketplace in 2016, venture capitals said that it is not a marketplace and they will not support as there were already too many players.

“But, we did a tremendous growth in the UK as we know our model is efficient and gaining traction. We plan to replicate that in the GCC and can win new customers. Winning new customers and keeping them is easy rather than shifting a customer from an existing platform,” he said.

Moreover, he said that a lot of e-commerce players do not put autonomy into the buyers’ hands and consumers don’t have a bargain of choice.

“OnBuy is ideally the global marketplace.  We are not targeting directly at Amazon as a competitor. When you dissect the UK e-commerce market, 71% of the market is not for Amazon and we don’t need to take on every Amazon customer to be a successful platform and that is what we have done it in the UK,” he said.

Eyes 25,000 retailers by end of 2021

The platform is aiming to achieve 1% of the $3.46tr global e-commerce market, equating to $35b, in the next five years.

“We are well ahead of our target and aims to achieve over £2 billion in sales by 2024. We are on track to claim 3-5% of the £84b UK e-commerce market in the next three years. Our business is growing 11 times per annum. Take a look at Amazon and the growth rate of Middle East markets, there is enormous opportunity to enter the ecosystem and become a fair platform for consumers and sellers,” Paton said.

The startup has raised a total of £8m in funding, including the Series ‘A’ funding round of £5m from leading London-based VC firm Fuel Ventures and other experienced investors including Nathalie Gaveau, the co-founder of Priceminister, a premium French marketplace later acquired by Rakuten.

“We will be looking for more funding next year and plan to open our Series ‘B’ in the next 12 to 18 months,” he said.

Since the launch, he said that OnBuy has amassed over 8m customers and more than 25m products from 5,000 retailers, with monthly visitors now trending at over 4.5m along with over 400 retailers joining every month.

“We are already signed more than 100 retailers from the US to join the board and in talks with some retailers in the GCC. By the end of the year, we expect to have about 8,000 retailers on its platform. 2021 is where the real growth is going to happen after the expansion and aims to have about 25,000 retailers,” he said.