Zaarly raises $14.1M Series A, adds former eBay exec Whitman to board
Zaarly, the peer-to-peer marketplace that lets users offer to buy goods and services around them, has closed a $14.1 million Series A funding round, bringing its total funding raised to $15.1 million. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' iFund and Sands Capital Ventures led the round. Also contributing were CMEA, Venture51, CrunchFund (founded by early Zaarly investor Michael Arrington), Marc Eckō (personally) and Artists and Instigators (Marc Eckō's innovation company).
In a phone interview today, Bo Fishback, Zaarly's Kansas City-based co-founder and CEO, said the round will give Zaarly's employees a chance to bring their heads up. "So much of what we're doing is experimentation," Fishback said. He expects that this will allow Zaarly to see what works and what doesn't and to build out its product, which recently underwent a redesign of its web app.
Zaarly also announced today the addition of current Hewlett-Packard CEO and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman to its board of directors. (Left, Whitman at the an event earlier this month. In September, it was tweeted that Whitman said onstage at the Wyse CIO Summit that Zaarly was her "current favorite startup." Photo from Fortune Live Media via Flickr.)
"We have about 30 people, she joined [eBay] when it was at 30," Fishback said, referring to Whitman's 10 years with the online auction giant, during which she led it from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue (via Wikipedia). In a press release, Fisback said Zaarly is fortunate to have Whitman's in-depth understanding of eCommerce and wisdom about company-building.
"She's going to make me a better CEO," Fishback said. "I'm super thrilled this thing is going to happen."
In the release, Whitman said: "Just as consumers once left off-line marketplaces to join online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist and Amazon, they're now migrating to mobile marketplaces, like Zaarly. Mobile, local marketplaces will shift how people buy and sell goods, services and experiences. This is the next generation of eCommerce."
John Suliman of SCV and Chi-Hua Chien of KPCB have also joined the board in conjunction with the Series A funding.
Fishback said Zaarly currently has well north of 100,000 users and has surpassed the $7 million mark in total dollars offered. Of the top cities, the Silicon Prairie boasts No. 3 Kansas City, which Fishback said remains in that position for the good team it has based in the city. Zaarly headquarters are in San Francisco.
Also Notable: In our interview, Fishback said that though he had been introduced to Eckō previously, their first in-person meeting came at Big Omaha 2011, an event held by us (Silicon Prairie News) in May at which both entrepreneurs spoke.