Flea market-style mobile apps are both a dime a dozen and refreshingly straightforward. Upload a photo of the item for sale, write a description, set a price, and wait for nearby interested buyers to make a purchase. That level of simplicity and transparency, however, isn’t to be found in Stuffle‘s latest funding round.
The German startup, which competes with a host of similar “flea market” apps, including Shpock and Depop in Europe, or Rumgr and Yardsale in the U.S., has raised a “seven-figure” founding round led by Tivola Ventures, and Leverate Media. Nothing out of the ordinary there — an undisclosed funding round is very European.
But where things deviate somewhat from business as usual is that Leverate Media’s involvement consists of what’s being called a “media for equity” deal in which it will provide Stuffle with a media plan and premium advertising worth several million euros, in return for 20 percent of the company.
And while the overall funding amount isn’t being disclosed, beyond that “seven-figure” mention, Tivola Ventures is said to be taking 25 percent equity. It has to be said that it’s unusual for what is otherwise an opaque funding round to break out equity numbers, but, with a mixture of cash and “media equity,” this deal is nothing if not convoluted.
That said, Leverate Media isn’t the only operation to be touting premium advertising reach for a stake in a consumer startup with high-growth potential. London’s Squadron Venture Media offers a similar arrangement (or, alternatively, media buying in return for a future revenue share).
Along with Stuffle’s two new “investors,” existing investors Heiko Hubertz, Tim Schumacher, Mehrdad Piroozram and High- Tech Gründerfonds also participated in this round.
Commenting in a statement, Sebastian Erasmus, CEO of Leverate Media, said: “We are looking forward to helping Stuffle generate more reach by setting up a media plan. It will specifically address the needs of the young company while delivering long-term and sustainable growth. Together with Morten and his team, the existing investors and of course Tivola Ventures we have found a setup through which Stuffle can realize its growth strategy at an optimum rate. ”
When asked, a representative for Stuffle was unable to breakout any further numbers for the app, or be more transparent in terms of the investment figures. What we do know is that prior to this latest round the Hamburg, Germany-based startup had raised €975,000 (~$1.23m). Meanwhile, as of late January this year, Stuffle had been downloaded approximately 147,000 times since it launched the previous May, seeing 75,000 items listed and 12,500 successful sales at a total value of €1.2 million. We’ll update this post if and when we receive updated metrics.
Update: And just like magic, updated stats provided by Stuffle:
Downloads so far: 400,000
Listed items: 275,000
Successful sales: 35,000 with total value of €3.6 million
[Total] Investments (cash and media combined): Over €10 million
Update 2: I’m told that in this latest funding round alone the cash and media combined is worth “more than 2 Million Euro’. So, that means, according to the update above, and including prior disclosed funding, nearly seven million Euros of investment is unaccounted for! Confused? Me too.