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Point Nine Land

Mapping the European B2B Marketplace Landscape (The 2020 Edition)

Almost 2 years ago, I published an overview of the European B2B marketplace landscape. Since then, the ecosystem has rapidly expanded. There are now over 300 B2B marketplaces in Europe, up from a mere 20 back in 2010. Of these marketplaces, more than 10 have raised over €50 million and 4 have raised over €100 million (Funding Circle, ManoMano, Meero and TravelPerk). In total, European B2B marketplaces have raised over €3 billion and this number continues to grow.

At Point Nine, we’ve enthusiastically followed the developments across B2B marketplaces and have recently teamed up with our friends at Hokodo to provide you with a deep dive into the industry which will be published later this year. In the meantime, here is a little taste of what is to come starting with our updated European B2B Marketplace Directory!

View as a spreadsheet / Add a marketplace

The above landscape maps out over 250 companies across 8 verticals including, machinery and heavy industry, transport and logistics, commodities and agrifood. Of the companies included in our landscape, 60% are service marketplaces and 40% are goods marketplaces. The most common type of marketplaces, making up 20% of our landscape, are contractor marketplaces. For the most part, the supply base of these marketplaces tends to be relatively low-skilled and homogenous. This means that they are easy to set up and scale (acquiring supply is simple), which explains the sheer volume of them. However, they are more prone to competition and, therefore, tend to be highly localised as opposed to global.

The next largest category, making up 18% of our landscape, are transport and logistics marketplaces. Most of these are freight or warehousing marketplaces. Similarly, these tend to be highly commoditized services and, as a result, there seem to be several players in each market as opposed to winner takes all dynamics. The same can be said for the goods marketplaces on this list. Most of them facilitate transactions where the SKUs are fairly standardized and comparable across different vendors.

As the B2B marketplace industry develops, I suspect we will see more marketplaces offering less commoditized, more unique goods or services. These marketplaces usually have more complex workflows and may be tougher to set up. They are generally more SaaS-heavy and, as mentioned in a previous post, often resemble vertical SaaS businesses as opposed to traditional marketplaces. Due to their inherent complexity, these marketplaces will also be more defensible as a result.

Although it feels like marketplaces are all around us, B2B marketplaces are still very much in their infancy. Over 60% of the marketplaces in our landscape were started in the last 5 years and most have yet to raise a seed round. Because of this, it’s still too early to tell what will be the winning B2B marketplace playbook and which models will be most likely to succeed.

That being said, there are a handful of marketplaces, pictured below, that are setting the standards for B2B marketplaces. Together, these 9 marketplaces have raised over £1bn and account for almost one-third of all the capital raised by European B2B marketplaces. Over the next few years, we will no doubt see more B2B marketplaces reaching this sort of scale. In fact, growth of these marketplaces will most likely be accelerated in the wake of COVID, as pointed out by my colleague Robin, as companies around the world are being forced to re-evaluate their supply chains and are turning to digital platforms for sourcing and managing their suppliers, as a result.

I look forward to continuing my deep dive into this market over the next few months alongside the team at Hokodo. Stay tuned for the full-blown report which will be published in the fall! In the meantime, here are a few of my latest recommended marketplace reads:

Roadmap: B2B Marketplace, Bessemer Venture Partners

24 Ways B2B Marketplaces Win, James Currier @ NFX

The Hierarchy of Marketplaces, Sarah Tavel @ Benchmark

B2B Marketplaces Revisited, Boris Wertz @ Version One

If you’re building a B2B marketplace that is not yet included in this list or in the landscape above, please add yourself using this link and feel free to reach out as we would love to hear from you. ☎️

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