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OnBuy 'Does The Impossible' To Officially Become One Of The UK's Fastest-Growing Tech Companies

Published 22nd November 2022
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  • OnBuy now the largest British marketplace following rise to success
  • CEO Cas Paton was warned: “Don’t take on Amazon - it’s a losing battle”  
  • Company now named as one of Deloitte's fastest-growing tech companies 

OnBuy, which has taken on industry heavyweights Amazon and eBay, has today been named as one of the country’s fastest-growing tech companies.

When Cas Paton launched the online marketplace in 2016, some industry professionals warned he was wasting his time and money, and that any attempt to break the online marketplace monopoly was a “losing battle”, as it would be “impossible to gain scale”.  

Never content with merely competing with the big boys, the British entrepreneur pledged to break the mould set by those that went before by creating an online marketplace that provides a better, fairer choice for both retailers and consumers.  

Six years later, Paton’s gamble has paid off spectacularly. The Bournemouth-based business has boomed and is now partnered with 17,000 retailers, offering shoppers the choice of a whopping 35 million products onsite.   

OnBuy’s rapid rise to success has today been officially recognised by one of the country’s leading technology awards programmes, the UK Technology Fast 50 2022, Deloitte's prestigious ranking of the UK's fastest-growing tech companies. The marketplace ranked 11th overall, with a huge 3402 per cent growth, based on revenue growth over the last four years, and also secured top spot for the South West region.  

The accolade places the business alongside fellow 2022 nominees Nonacus, Wonde and tripledot, while previous award winners include runaway success stories Skyscanner, Just Eat, Deliveroo and Revolut.  

For OnBuy, the inclusion represents a legitimate benchmark of success, which will result in enhanced brand and customer recognition, as well as all-important visibility with potential investors - a key driver for the brand in 2023. 

As the business continues its rapid scaling-up process, recognition on the level of the UK Technology Fast 50 also positively influences employee recruiting, retention, and morale, according to the experts.  

Paton, 38, said: 

“When I launched OnBuy six years ago, I was told time and time again by industry ‘experts’ that taking on the likes of Amazon was a ‘losing battle’ and ‘impossible’.  

“While these comments, from people who were ‘in the know’ at the time, gave me pause for thought, I was always steadfast in my belief that there was room for an online marketplace that does things differently. We were told a UK marketplace would never be able to compete with the big hitters, but now look - we have done the ‘impossible’.  

“We embarked on a journey to create a marketplace that provides a better, fairer choice for sellers and consumers. We pledged to work together to take on the incumbent monopoly and start something special.”

Paton has had his own unique path to success, after leaving school aged 16 and entering the Royal Navy, where he worked as an aircraft engineer for four years. 

He then set up a tech development company with the last £80 he had in the bank, and developed the business exponentially to the point he transitioned into consultancy. 

From there, then in his mid 20s, Paton decided it was a “natural leap” into eCommerce. However, at that point, he could never have predicted the runaway success of the business that became OnBuy. 

Paton said:

“Today’s inclusion on the UK Technology Fast 50 is a culmination of years worth of work. It’s incredibly gratifying and a genuine benchmark of success for us. The names attached to the list over the years are astounding, and to know that industry experts see us similarly is a huge win. 

“But this is just the start for us, we have a long way to go and enormous ambition within the space. We’ll use this as a springboard to take the next step in our journey - with several massive developments planned for 2023 that we think are really going to shake up the industry.” 

Duncan Down, lead partner for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 programme, said:

“The exceptional growth of this year’s Fast 50 is a marker of the ongoing strength and resilience of the UK’s technology industry, which continues to thrive despite considerable headwinds. 

“The 50 fastest growing UK technology companies, as ranked by Deloitte, generated around £992mn in total annual revenues in the year 2021/22 and employed more than 16,300 people.” 

OnBuy sets itself apart from competitor brands by refusing to compete with onsite sellers, in contrast to the likes of Amazon. 

The approach adopted and executed by Cas and his 150-strong team is redefining the face of the industry for good - and for the better - while simultaneously revolutionising consumers’ perception of eCommerce and how it’s done.  

Paton said: 

“OnBuy is a fair, transparent, open marketplace with zero inventory. We are a partner to retailers and we have no conflicting practices or any concerns over what is selling, other than supporting our retailers. 

“While we champion retailers, we’re also invested in providing consumers with the best products at decent, fair and honest price points. We don’t rig the system to benefit specific sellers and the site is set up to ensure buyers get visibility of the best deals.  

“We’re the first UK company to really show that there is a place for a non-inventory general marketplace in the UK. That’s enabled us to grow at a rapid rate - doing what others haven’t been able to do.” 

Following a successful period for the business, marked by today’s inclusion in the Fast 50, OnBuy forecasts continued growth over the next two years, with an ever-increasing market share.

And while the UK-born company exclusively operates on home soil currently, Cas and his team are aiming to expand overseas in the very near future - a signal of the firm’s intent and ambition to mix with the industry’s heaviest hitters. 

Paton said:

“While we know there is room for multiple online marketplaces, our incredible growth since launching, particularly over the past two years, has put us hot on the tails of the likes of Amazon and eBay.  

“We see what enormous multinationals like that have done right, but also what they have done wrong, and we’re using that knowledge to drive OnBuy forward in a new and innovative way.”