eBay Quietly Launches Corporate Venture Capital Investment Fund ‘eBay Ventures’
eBay has long promoted itself as being an online marketplace offering opportunities to entrepreneurs to sell online. But earlier this month, the company went a step further by launching a venture capital fund under the ‘eBay Ventures’ name.
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There was no press announcement, so it’s unclear exactly when this fund started, but eBay registered the domain ebayventures.com in January of 2022.
And one of its founders, Henri Jaanimägi, who has been the Head of European Strategy for eBay, updated his LinkedIn page to include his involvement with the fund this month as well.
But the real reason we know this VC fund exists is that eBay launched a landing page at https://www.ebayinc.com/ebay-ventures/ (also accessible via ebayventures.com) where it explains:
“Since 1995, eBay has been helping entrepreneurs create economic opportunity on our global marketplace platform. Now, eBay Ventures is bringing this expertise to young and innovative founders, partnering with them to help their models succeed.“
”Our investment and strategic expertise, paired with our global ecommerce knowledge and reach, uniquely position us to support your growth and innovation. We know how to build an enduring business – and we’d love to help your startup succeed, too.”
In addition to Jaanimägi, eBay lists Beatriz Reyero, Global VP of Corporate Strategy & Investments at eBay, and Eric Chi who previously had the role of a Senior Manager on eBay’s corporate strategy team as one of the co-founders.
The fund will also lean on the expertise of five eBay execs as advisors:
- Stefanie Jay, Chief Business and Strategy Officer
- Rob Hattrell, Head of Europe
- Mazen Rawashdeh, Chief Technology Officer
- Jordan Sweetnam, General Manager, North America
- Pete Thompson, Chief Product Officer.
What Do We Now About eBay Ventures?
Although eBay Venture is new, the company has entered into partnerships before such as Orange Connex, which helps sellers fulfill orders in China, Germany, Australia, and the UK.
In addition, eBay has been involved with VC funding indirectly through its previous ownership of PayPal (PayPal Ventures – founded in 2002), and its founder Pierre Omidyar, who launched Omidyar Technology Ventures in 2016.
But this is the first corporate VC fund eBay will head itself.
The company said on its website that it wants to partner “with visionary entrepreneurs seeking to create lasting, impactful companies to transform the online economy.”
Furthermore, eBay is interested in “disruptive early-stage companies who are revolutionizing the commerce landscape.”
Typically, the purpose of Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) funds is a mix of financial returns while also gaining early access to people, markets, or technology.
Since Jamie Iannone took over as eBay’s CEO in 2020, he has been leading a “tech-lead reimagination” of the company.
As eBay sheds legacy systems and modernizes its platform, the eBay VC fund might become another source of innovative technology that it could snap up later through a full acquisition.
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Richard is co-founder of eSeller365. He has over 17 years of experience on eBay which includes tens of thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries and even has experience with eBay’s VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights for a former employer. And for about two years Richard sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA in the US.
To “relax” from the daily business grind, for a few weekends a year, he also works for IMSA as a professional race official.