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Former eBay Prez to Advise Auction Site Catawiki

The former president of eBay Marketplaces Lorrie Norrington has been named advisor to a European online auction site. Catawiki, based in The Netherlands, announced on Thursday it raised $82 million from investors following a Series B investment of 10 million euros in 2014.

Despite the obvious comparison to eBay, Catawiki seems more like German-based site Auctionata even though eBay revived a live-bidding platform last year. Catawiki has 400,000 registered users and receives 6 million visitors a month.

Norrington is operating partner and advisor to Lead Edge Capital, which led the Series C investment in Catawiki. Previous investors Accel and Project A Ventures also participated in the round, as did several former Booking.com executives, including former CMO Arthur Kosten.

Rene Schoenmakers (CEO) and Marco Jansen (CTO) founded the company as a community for collectors to buy and sell collectibles such as comic books and stamps and has since expanded into over 60 categories – its biggest categories are jewelry, art, classic cars and watches.

Anyone can sell collectibles on Catwiki, but items must have an expected selling price of at least 75 euro. The company says its category experts act as auctioneers who curate and oversee weekly auctions. “Sellers are advised on how to accurately price and present their items, while buyers purchase higher quality, more authentic goods.”

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Catawiki has 200 employees in five countries: France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, and it also launched in Italy and Spain. All of its weekly auctions start on a Friday at noon, with all lots starting at 1 euro. (Yes, you can set a reserve price, but it must be approved in advance by a Catawiki auctioneer.)

Norrington was CEO of Shopping.com and joined eBay when it acquired the shopping comparison engine. She was the chief operating officer of the eBay Marketplaces at a time of radical change to its feedback system, including the introduction of DSRs and the removal of sellers’ ability to leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers.

Norrington stayed at eBay 4 years, leaving in 2010 citing personal family reasons. She has advised or sat on the board of many companies from McAfee and Lucasfilm to TaskRabbit and Eventbrite. Among her current board seats is ecommerce platform Bigcommerce.

Catawiki said it would use the new round of funding “to build upon its success as it seeks to make unique items available to everyone. In addition to strengthening its presence in existing markets, expansion is planned for new markets in Europe and many other regions around the world.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.