20VC: The Ultimate Guide to Scaling Marketplaces, Why Rule of 40 and EBITDA Optimisation is BS, How Founders & VCs Should Approach Market Sizing and Outcome Scenario Planning and Why Europe is Failing with Vinted CEO, Thomas Plantenga & Alex Taussig

Posted on 12th February 2024 by Harry

Thomas Plantenga is the CEO @ Vinted, one of the fastest-growing marketplaces in the world with a valuation of $4.5BN. Prior to becoming CEO, Thomas worked with a range of organisations including Bookaboat, OLX, Sellit/Wallapop and FJLabs.

Alex Taussig is a General Partner @ Lightspeed and co-leads the fund’s Consumer investment team. Alex’s portfolio includes the likes of All Day Kitchens, Archive Resale, Daily Harvest, Faire, Found, Frubana, Keychain, Kikoff, Vinted, YaySay, and Zola.

In Today’s Episode with Thomas Plantenga and Alex Taussig We Discuss:

1. The CEO Who Did Not Want to be CEO:

  • How did Thomas come to be CEO @ Vinted? Why did he not want the job at first?
  • What does Thomas know now that he wishes he had known when he started?

2. The Mechanics of the Fastest Growing Marketplace:

  • What is the single most important metric for Vinted?
  • How does Vinted determine what market to open next? What do they look for?
  • How does Vinted think about depth vs breadth in each country?
  • What is the AOV today? How does it vary by country?
  • How long does it take for each country to be cash flow positive?

3. The Biggest BS in Startups: Rule of 40 and EBITDA:

  • Why does Thomas think VC’s obsession with “Rule of 40” is BS?
  • Why does Thomas believe EBITDA optimization is BS and useless?
  • What are the hardest elements of scaling a marketplace that no one knows?

4. The Bull, Bear and Investor Approach to Vinted:

  • Alex, what was Lightspeed’s pre and post-mortem when investing in Vinted?
  • How does Lightspeed analyze TAM and market sizing when investing?
  • What was Lightspeed’s single biggest concern when investing in Vinted?

5. Europe: A Hub of Innovation or a Retirement Home:

  • Does Thomas believe that European young people have a worse work ethic than those in the US?
  • Is Thomas concerned by the state of regulation hampering innovation in Europe?
  • What can be done to improve work ethic and the state of regulation today?
  • Why is Alex and Lightspeed more bullish than ever on Europe today?

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