Since the first online auction held in 2011, auction platform Catawiki seems to be a successful alternative to renowned auction houses such as Christie's and marketplace websites such as eBay. Thanks to the unique combination of online auctions which are curated by a team of almost 200 passionate auctioneers, the company has experienced an explosive growth right from the beginning. And it seems that Catawiki will continue to grow this year. The company, which has previously been proclaimed as the fastest growing company in Europe by Deloitte, recently reached another impressive milestone. This week a lot exchanged owners for the 3 millionth time. A number of which many other auction houses can only dream of. According to CEO Ilse Kamps, this is a fantastic milestone that shows that Catawiki is the place to buy and sell unique objects for many people in Europe. ‘Our growth in Europe especially accelerated after we received the investment of €75 million in 2015. This investment allowed us to work on our international expansion. This enabled a lot of diversity in the offered lots and this was essential for our fast growth.’ Next to two offices in the Netherlands, Catawiki also has offices in Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and recently also in Sweden.
According to Kamps, the variety of unique objects is one of the reasons of the success of Catawiki. ‘Every week, it’s a surprise to see which unique objects can be found amongst the 35,000 offered lots. People from all corners of the world are offering their lots on Catawiki. In the last weeks, we’ve auctioned off the old Mercedes of the Spanish King Juan Carlos, a document with a signature of Napoleon, a fossilised nest with dinosaur eggs and one of the rarest comic books in the world. Every object that can be found on Catawiki comes with a fascinating story; sometimes because of its monetary worth, but often it has emotional or historical value.’Catawiki’s mission is to make special objects available for everyone through the auctions. A mission that it is succeeding in. With the variety of objects, Catawiki, unlike the big auction houses, not only focuses on people with richly filled purses but also on people with a smaller budget. ‘At Catawiki, you can buy objects in the price range of €75 up to €1 million. We also auction off a lot of art made by unknown or upcoming artists. This allows people to buy unique pieces by artists whose works might be unaffordable in a couple of years for little money. And this makes Catawiki fun for everybody,’ Ilse Kamps explains.
In addition, Kamps also thinks that the growth is linked to hiring the right people. ‘In the previous years, we mainly focused on hiring people with the right experience. If you want to grow fast, it’s important to have people on board that can make the difference.’ In the last two years, Catawiki hired 400 people. At the moment, the company has more than 60 open vacancies.