Japanese Mercari Inc., the operator of flea market app Mercari, has raised five billion yen ($47 million U.S.) at a valuation of 252 billion yen ($2.4 billion U.S.) from undisclosed investors.
Reuters reports the company plans to use the fund to improve penetration in the United States. “We can’t be successful globally without success in the U.S.,” founder and CEO Shintaro Yamada (LinkedIn profile) told Reuters. “If a service is accepted in the U.S., it tends to become universal.”
Founded in 2013, Tokyo-based Mercari moved to the U.S. the following year. Though it has been operating in the U.K. for more than a year now, Japan and the U.S. are its two major markets with 60 million and 30 million app downloads, respectively. Currently, the company has around 100 employees in the U.S. compared with 600 in Japan.
Mercari raised 8.4 billion yen ($79 million U.S.) at a valuation of $1 billion U.S. from investors, including Mitsui & Co, Development Bank of Japan Inc., Globis Capital Partners and World Innovation Lab two years ago. In 2014, the consumer-to-consumer used-stuffs marketplace secured $23 million U.S..
Mercari was widely expected to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, but it denied the listing reports in July last year with a statement saying it was considering various possibilities for expanding the business.
Mercari Inc. has a rich portfolio of services including a marketplace for books, CDs and DVDs called Mercarikauru; a marketplace with a price appraisal feature, known as Mercarimaisonz; app-development subsidiary Souzoh.com; on-demand share cycle service Merchari and online payment-provider Merpay. The company is also preparing to launch a skill-sharing service Teacha.me, which is currently at an advanced registration stage.