Dutch Startup eFresh.com Raises $5.4 Million From Rabobank

The Netherlands-based internet startup eFresh.com has secured €4.25 million (or roughly $5.4 million) in funding from one of the largest banks in the country, Rabobank. The company, which operates a B2B portal for the perishable industry, had previously raised an undisclosed amount of capital from private investors.

With the funding, Rabobank acquired a stake in the startup’s parent holding company, GET Holding, which was on the verge of filing for IPO recently but ultimately decided to hold off because of the economic downturn.

eFresh.com bills itself as ‘eBay for the fresh produce industry’, offering information services and a live direct trading platform for buyers and sellers of anything ranging from fruit (see example), meat, fish to flowers, eggs and dairy products. The company uses a bank-escrow service that allows traders to handle financial transactions directly with each other in real-time, and doesn’t take any commission on deals but instead makes money by charging membership fees (€899 a year) and advertising.

The company says it will use the extra capital to improve the usability of its online presence and grow on an international level following the same buy-and-build strategy we’ve seen eBay executing the past couple of years. eFresh.com has acquired 15 smaller companies and portals over the past years, and hopes to expand those operations to adequately compete against large trading portals like Alibaba and Global Sources (both strong in Asia).