Quarify co-founders Anna Tarasidou and Stelios Papapetrou, who are both from Greece, moved to Luxembourg about 10 months ago. They started working a “regular nine-to-five job,” but because “Luxembourg is a country full of opportunities and business insights and a lot of economic growth, we came up with the idea of creating this acquisition marketplace during the winter times of 2022,” explained Papapetrou, whose background is in programming and the web development sector.
Since then, the two of them have been working “step by step” on all of the processes needed to create the product, which had its official launch on 3 July. Papapetrou and Tarasidou received support from Luxembourg’s House of Entrepreneurship, and appear fully committed to their project--so committed, in fact, that they plan to resign from their current jobs in mid-July, after which they’ll be working full-time on Quarify.
So what does Quarify actually offer?
“We are creating an innovative acquisition marketplace,” explained Papapetrou. “Small and medium enterprises now have the opportunity to get acquired easily.” It takes little effort and is “almost free,” said Papapetrou, as Quarify does not take a commission.
“On the buyer side, they have the opportunity to browse and find what they’re looking for much more quickly,” he said. “They can filter [the list] and they can find some great deals, all around Europe, of companies that want to get acquired.”
That seems quite ambitious, I ask. Will the platform really be capable of including companies from all European countries?
“We’re looking for both online and in-store businesses,” said Papapetrou. “For in-store businesses, for the moment we’re preferring only [those] from Greece and Luxembourg, so we can have the opportunity to go and visit them and see if it’s actually a good deal.”
“But for the rest of Europe, we are looking for online businesses, because it’s much easier to have a due diligence, to compare the businesses and the acquisition process is much, much easier for the potential buyers,” added Papapetrou. “A good fit for our marketplace would be an innovative Saas company--software as a service--that has a good solution for a [common] problem. And, of course, something that is at least profitable.”
But in-store businesses are also included, added Tarasidou, who has worked in marketing and advertising. “There is also the situation that a lot of businesses closed, because they don’t have someone to take over after people resign.” The goal is to also sell businesses like these.
How does the listing process work?
If a company is interested in listing themselves on the Quarify marketplace, how does the process work?
When someone wants to sign up, they first need to give their first name and surname, where they’re based, a telephone number and job title. “And then we go to the financial metrics. When it was founded, where is the company located, what type of company is it? Is it a Saas, e-commerce, in-store, crypto? The number of employees, the number of customers approximately, and then, they can specify an asking price,” explained Papapetrou.
But setting an asking price is not required, he added. Quarify also asks for the yearly revenue, yearly profit, growth rate and a description of a company.
Anonymity key to the platform
This all sounds well and good. But is it all really for free? How is it possible for Quarify to make money?
When a company is published on the platform, it’s anonymous. “So all the sensitive data, the company name, the founder’s name, links, phone numbers--all this stuff is not visible to the public,” said Papapetrou. This protects the companies that are on the platform--some may not want to advertise that they’re open to acquisition, he noted--but it also prevents buyers and sellers connecting directly and cutting out Quarify.
Buyers can browse the platform for free. But when a buyer wants to contact the seller, they need to pay for an annual package, explained Tarasidou. The “basic package” allows buyers to contact companies that have revenues of up to €350,000. If a buyer wants to contact a company with a higher revenue, they would need to purchase a “premium package.”
The basic package costs €290 per year and the premium package comes to €590, said Papapetrou, which allows prospective buyers to get in touch with as many companies as they want.
At the time of our interview, which took place before the platform’s official launch, Quarify already had “around 10-20” buyers and companies combined.
Luxembourg the “economic capital” of the EU
Papapetrou plans to move back to Greece while Tarasidou remains in Luxembourg, allowing the two of them to work simultaneously in both countries. “Greece has a lot of economical growth and a lot of startups being born every single day, so we need to be there to have in-person meetings,” said Papapetrou, while “Luxembourg is the economic capital of the European Union. So we need to be in both of these countries.”
Tarasidou and Papapetrou hope in the future to expand their team in order to, for example, carry out more due diligence of companies who are interested in joining the Quarify platform or provide financial services for companies. “We would like to have some in-house professional people doing these types of services,” said Papapetrou.
“We are really passionate about [the project], and we have all the energy in the world to work and make it the best possible,” he said. “We are really happy with the outcome we have so far, and our efforts are starting to pay off, seeing all this interest even before our launch. We’re really happy to share it with the world, and with Luxembourg, of course.”
This article was published for the Delano Finance newsletter, the weekly source for financial news in Luxembourg. Subscribe using this link.