Users of online clothing reseller Twice might do a double-take at the end of this month. Software created by Twice called Vulcan, which primarily aids in the logistics of listing items in bulk, was acquired by eBay Valet, which helps users sell secondhand items and which expanded into clothing last month.
As part of the deal, Twice founders Noah Ready-Campbell and Calvin Young will join eBay Valet. According to an eBay spokesman, the company has made offers to “eight or nine” other members of the Twice technical team. Although eBay hasn’t acquired the entire company, the two-and-a-half-year-old Twice will be closing its current Web site, apps and operations, according to an e-mailed letter sent to customers on Monday. The remaining 30 full-time and 200 part-time Twice employees will receive a severance package from Twice.
According to a comment from Jordan Sweetnam, eBay vice president of seller experience, the acquisition of Twice’s technology and the hiring of members of the firm’s leadership and technology teams will improve the performance of eBay’s assisted selling service. Like Twice, eBay Valet photographs, lists and sells items for users, but unlike Twice, it utilizes a third party (or “valet”) to list the items, and sends a portion of the selling price to the seller only after the item is sold (rather than making an immediate offer). While Twice let users donate rejected items to Goodwill, eBay Valet returns unsold items after a four-week selling period.
This deal will help eBay bolster defenses against competitors like ThredUP and Threadlip, and luxury consignment site The RealReal, whose high-end approach, which is similar to eBay Valet, has helped attract $83 million in funding.
The terms of the deal were not revealed, but since its founding in 2012, Twice had raised slightly more than $23 million in funding. In a comment, Twice’s Ready-Campbell said that they founded Twice with the goal of making selling “as easy as shopping.” Although it started with women’s wear, Twice had recently expanded into accessories and men’s wear. “[EBay chief executive officer Devin Wenig] has laid out an exhilarating vision for how assisted selling can drive growth at eBay, and I can’t wait to begin working with eBay’s talented seller experience team,” Ready-Campbell stated.
Wenig, during the company’s first quarter earnings report, said that “consumer selling is a key eBay strength, and we intend to revitalize this segment of our market. An estimated $100 billion of value is trapped in people’s closets and garages, and that’s just in the U.S. This is an enormous opportunity.”
Twice’s Web site and apps will continue to operate through the end of the month, albeit with a series of sales; eBay did not acquire Twice’s inventory.
The deal was revealed on the same day that Paypal, formerly the key profits engine behind eBay, began trading as a separately listed company and only three days after eBay sold eBay Enterprise to a consortium led by Permira Funds and Sterling Partners for $925 million. EBay is under pressure to convince investors that its core marketplace operations have growth potential.