Former Catch MD Harpaz's new tech start-up TradeSquare raises $28m

Former Catch MD Harpaz's new tech start-up TradeSquare raises $28m

(L-R) TradeSquare co-founders Nati Harpaz  and Einat Sukenik (provided).

US investment firm Tiger Global has pumped $28 million into a funding raise for TradeSquare, an online wholesale marketplace startup that has gained traction over the past two years and is on the cusp of a significant scale-up.

Nati Harpaz and Einat Sukenik co-founded the company in 2020 after the entrepreneurs spotted a gap in the Australian wholesaling industry market.

The pair created the online B2B platform TradeSquare to help retailers overcome COVID challenges and create a more efficient Australian wholesaling experience for the future.

The wholesale platform is already one of the largest in Australia, attracting 1,000 suppliers, 150,000 unique products and 10,000 registered buyers.

"This investment will allow us to scale in a very significant way and build upon our rapidly growing business proposition and model, our use of smart technology, and the strong executive team that we have put together," Harpaz said.

TradeSquare has offered an alternative marketplace for many struggling retail businesses during COVID suffering from the closure of trade fairs, travel restrictions and supply chain difficulties.

“The old way of bringing wholesalers and retailers together was trade shows or overseas buying trips, but these disappeared during COVID,” Sukenik explained.

“You can think of TradeSquare as a 24/7 digital trade show – allowing retailers to easily discover and order wholesale products, and wholesalers access to retailers Australia-wide.

“Our initial focus is gift and homewares, but ultimately the market is much broader.”

The platform currently offers a real advantage to smaller retailers who have not received the same recovery bounce that some larger city retailers have experienced.

TradeSquare’s business model looks to avoid the current global supply chain problems by not relying on overseas products.

Unlike many other wholesalers and distributors, the company’s business model also doesn’t demand upfront payments, which can make a significant difference to retailers whose cash flows are at an all-time low.

“We’re Australian entrepreneurs ourselves. We understand the challenges. We’ve faced them,” Harpaz said.

“We have lived through the hard knocks of running a business in Australia and come out the other side. That’s where we stand apart. Australia can be a rugged environment for retail businesses.”

Tiger Global’s previous investments in Australia’s e-commerce industry include Catch, where Harpaz was previously CEO. Sukenik previously co-founded Sydney market intelligence company Upwise.

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