Founded at the Demium Startups incubation program in 2015 by Ismael Labrador and Alejandro Pons, Tuvalum is the first marketplace specialising in the second-hand sports equipment aimed at both professionals and amateurs. It is as easy and convenient as buying on Amazon, and safer than selling on eBay. The name was inspired by the island country Tuvalu, which was chosen as a symbol of just how far the founders believed they could go with the startup.
From early on it was clear that the idea had potential as in 2016 the company was a finalist at the XVI Campus SeedRocket and accelerated by Plug and Play. The company sets itself apart from others by protecting users from fraud and scams. Since selling or buying a second-hand bicycle involves a significant transaction, the safety, mechanical and aesthetic aspects of all the bicycles sold on the website are inspected by specialists. As well as guaranteeing what is purchased and sold, the company also guarantees secure payment. What is more, you can purchase and sell from the comfort of your home. Another advantage that sellers have is that the platform helps them set a price depending on the model, components, and state of the bicycle as well as the market situation.
The business model is based on a fee for every item sold, 10% for items with a price of up to €1000, and a fixed fee of €100 for items with a higher price.
The startup was launched with €20,000 from the founders. Further investment was provided from Enisa as well as several business angels. More recently, the company has closed a funding round of €257,000 which was led by current shareholders SeedRocket 4Founders and included new shareholders and family offices via StartupXplore. The aim of the round is to improve user experience on the website and accelerate user acquisition in the countries it is aimed it. The company wants to expand services to other countries throughout Europe.