Asseta, the B2B marketplace for used manufacturing equipment which was sort of the odd one out in Y Combinator’s summer 2013 program last year, has now scored a seed round of $535,000. Investors included Ace & Company, Beenos Partners, Matt Huang, and others, as well as help from the WeFunder and AngelList crowdfunding platforms. The latter two were responsible for $271,000 of the funding.
The founders say they didn’t plan to raise most of the round via crowdfunding, but it worked out because of their “unsexy” marketplace concept. “Today, most software-focused VCs don’t have insight into the unique challenges in hardware markets,” says CEO Anton Brevde. “It’s kind of ironic because we’re disrupting the industry that gave venture capital its start,”
He also tells TechCrunch that almost all of the company’s investors had a connection to manufacturing and had first-hand experience with the problem Asseta is solving, describing them as “people that had seen a room full of equipment thrown out because the owner had no use for it.”
The company, for background, launched an online marketplace last August aimed at eliminating the middleman in transactions involving the buying and selling of used manufacturing equipment, primarily semiconductor equipment to start. Three of the four founders at Asseta have a background in this industry, and spotted the potential there to change how things were usually done – that is, through equipment brokers whose sales’ process is far less than transparent.
The company notes this $100 billion industry has been stagnant for over 20 years, operating through these middlemen and traditional auctions.
With Asseta, sellers can instead create their own equipment listings with the make, model, year, description, etc., and Asseta will even go on site to take photographs, if need be. The company also handles the payment, shipment and fulfillment, taking only a 5-10% transaction fee, which Brevde says is lower than the industry standard of 50%.
Since its launch, Asseta has talked with fellow Y Combinator alum Soylent about the difficulty in finding affordable manufacturing equipment, and hopes to expand to support more hardware startups in the future, too. For now, the company is taking a vertical-by-vertical approach, beginning with the semiconductor industry, then moving on to high-tech industries, and, eventually, all used industrial equipment.
To date, Asseta has added over 200,000 listings to its site and is growing at 50% month-over-month. Brevde declined to discuss the number of transactions Asseta has handled or revenue, however.
The new funding will be primarily used to grow the engineering and sales teams, Brevde says.