OfferUp app comes out of stealth mode; it’s raised $90 million, but faces a battle

04 Nov 2015

Just about a week ago, GeekWire called OfferUp “the most valuable Seattle start-up you’ve never heard about.” But if you’ve been reading Classified Intelligence Report, you probably heard about the marketplace / classified app in October 2012, when we covered it in our global classifieds annual just four months after it launched.

“One of the simplest of the mobile- and photo-focused online marketplaces, OfferUp launched in June, winning acclaim …,” we wrote. “The OfferUp ‘TruYou’ member program allows buyers and sellers to validate their identities through a simple scan of their drivers’ licenses.”

And we reported on it again last year. So much for the “start-up you’ve never heard about.”

Today, the super-secret “stealth mode” for OfferUp ended.

In a remarkably choreographed publicity blitz that included articles on Forbes.com, Fortune.com, The Wall Street Journal, and a GeekWire follow-up, the company was profiled as the next Craigslist, an $800 million boy wonder, a “pre-revenue, pre-business model” company, and a company that has facilitated $2.9 billion in transactions this year alone.

Impressive. And its investors, including Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global Management, are powerhouses. The company’s taken $90 million in investment since it launched, and is looking for additional funding.

Several of the profiles referred to some OfferUp competitors. But none of them reviewed the depth of the competition, and all of them were wide-eyed, almost dewy profiles of a company that’s shown a lot of growth but hasn’t taken in a nickel’s worth of revenue. Yet. It’s an interesting investment and it’s going to face a dogfight — with Close5, LetGo, VarageSale, a slew of other sites and apps, and — oh yes — Craigslist itself.

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Peter M. Zollman

Peter M. Zollman brings more than 35 years of media experience to his role as founding principal of the AIM Group / Classified Intelligence Report. He has worked with a wide range of media companies, dot-coms, technology providers and start-ups to develop and expand successful interactive-media services. He is based in Altamonte Springs, Fla., near Orlando.