Montreal-founded VarageSale acquired by VerticalScope

VarageSale, the Toronto-based buy-and-sell website and mobile app, has been acquired by VerticalScope, a Canadian digital media company. No financial terms were released

While VarageSale is currently based in Toronto, the company was founded by Tami Zuckerman, an elementary school teacher living in Montreal, Quebec. While pregnant with her first child, she asked her husband Carl Mercier, a programmer, to improve on the experience of buying and selling items over social networks.

In May 2012, VarageSale launched its first community, “Vaudreuil-Dorion and Surrounding Areas”. The company has since moved its headquarters to Toronto, Ontario.

VarageSale was named 2014 Startup of the Year in the Canadian Startup Awards. In March 2015, it was included as part of Canadian Business’s list of Canada’s Most Innovative Companies.

By 2016, however, there were signs of struggle as the company laid off 26 employees, including its VPs of product and engineering. Two months later, Mercier stepped down as CEO for a chief product officer role. The company announced its intention to pursue product-driven growth over monetization from paid advertising.

In May of this year, VarageSale addition Janet Bannister, founder of Kijiji, to its board, and announced its monthly active users and GMV had grown 100% each year and surpassed Kijiji listings in 10 cities across Canada. The hope was that Bannister could help the company with its long-term monetization strategy.

Led by CEO Andrew Sider, VarageSale raised nearly $60 million from Canadian and U.S. venture capital firms, according to Crunchbase. Its investors included iNovia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Real Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Version One Ventures.

“As a leader in online communities, VerticalScope is a natural partner that will make VarageSale a continued success. This is an exciting step for the VarageSale community. We are excited that VerticalScope will continue to deliver on our mission to be the #1 choice to help our community members stretch their budgets,” said Andrew Sider, CEO of VarageSale.

Established in 1999, VerticalScope owns and operates consumer shopping portals and enthusiast forum Websites focused on high-value vertical markets. Their online properties reach an overage of over 100 million qualified buyers and purchasing decision makers each month.

“The strength of VarageSale is in its highly engaged user base who buy, sell and connect through their online marketplace. Their team has built a unique product predicated on a customer-centric, safety-first approach,” said Rob Laidlaw, CEO of VerticalScope. “We look forward to welcoming VarageSale into our family of interest-based online communities and bringing their marketplace to more consumers and advertisers.”

The deal complements VerticalScope’s 600-plus online communities that reach over 100-million unique monthly visitors with a significant number of buy and sell transactions each month.  digital media company specializing in enthusiast websites and interest-based online communities.

Some of VarageSale’s engineering and customer support employees have joined VerticalScope’s team in Toronto as part of the acquisition. A list of 24 former employees currently looking for work was posted to the Facebook group StartupNorth by founder Tami Zuckerman. But that list doesn’t account for the total number of employees laid off. It is assumed that anywhere between 30-50% of the company was laid off as part of the acquisition.

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