AN ONLINE marketplace believes it is on course to become a global player after securing a £3million investment.

Onbuy, set up as a “fairer” alternative to Amazon, says it will use the money to more than double its workforce to 31 and launch in more than 20 countries.

The Poole business, set up barely three years ago by entrepreneur Cas Paton, says it secured the money from venture capital fund Fuel Ventures after receiving numerous offers.

OnBuy offers millions of products from its thousands of retailers, but does not compete with those retailers by selling products itself.

Founder and managing director Cas Paton said: “OnBuy is a unique platform for sellers – we are an ethical marketplace, we are transparent, and we are trustworthy.

“I’ve dealt with many e-commerce sellers throughout my business career, and would always hear how tired they were of the way marketplaces like Amazon operated; how they’d compete directly with their own sellers and favour their own products in search results, even if they’re more expensive.

“The popular marketplace model of retailing your own products and allowing other sellers to sell – one that favours the marketplace itself, rather than its retailers – is flawed. The result is that sellers miss out on sales, while customers get less choice and higher prices.

“OnBuy was born out of a belief that by being fair and transparent, we could create a better experience for both sellers and buyers; we wanted to do things differently and improve the marketplace landscape.

“We’ve created a marketplace that puts its buyers and sellers first, and now we’re giving the likes of Amazon a run for their money.

“We have an extremely efficient, scalable and sustainable business model, and the best technical framework to back it up, which is why we’ve achieved this level of success compared to some of our competitors, raising upwards of £20m. OnBuy has results-focused algorithms for marketing and growth, allowing us to scale quickly at a lower cost.”

It has partnered with more than 3,000 sellers since its launch in November 2016 and currently offers more than 21million products to eight million customers. The 20 countries where it intends to trade by the end of the year include the USA, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates.

It currently employs 14 people.

Mark Pearson, founder of Fuel Ventures, said: “As a fund of entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, we have extensive experience in the e-commerce industry and only invest in companies that we feel have extraordinary potential for growth and scale, so investing in OnBuy was an obvious choice for Fuel Ventures.

“It’s a marketplace that values the seller just as much as the customer, which gives it a real USP (unique selling point) as that has been historically overlooked by competitors.

“After seeing the company’s impressive growth to date, it’s apparent that OnBuy is destined to become a global player in the e-commerce marketplace world. We’re thrilled to be a part of this journey and can’t wait to share OnBuy’s great achievements over the next few years.”