Amsterdam-based timber trading platform VonWood has raised €2.7 million in a funding round. The new yew is aimed at accelerating the growth of the company, one that claims to “bring wood buyers and sellers together with the new online trading platform, without intermediaries” whilst being an intermediary.
VonWood’s €2.7 million funding round was provided by Peak, Dutch Founders Fund, Keen, and a number of additional, undisclosed strategic partners.
As the third most used construction material globally, just behind concrete and steel, the global timber market reached $535.96 billion in 2020 and is expected to climb to $726.51 billion in 2025. And this value has its taxes along the way.
From every link in the chain, including those that fell the trees, the sawmill that cuts the planks, and the businesses that process the timber in their end products, including importers, traders, agents, and others all carve out their margins between forest and framing. And it’s precisely against this grain where VonWood is attempting to take (or not, as it were) its cut.
“The timber industry is fragmented with little understanding of origin, quality and working conditions. Businesses that buy timber on a large scale have limited control over the supply and therefore run the risk of ceasing their production. Sawmills, on the other hand, have little insight into demand, so they produce on the basis of an estimate, often resulting in a surplus or shortage of stock. By directly connecting supply and demand, we want to remove those risks,” explained VonWood founder and CEO David de Jong.
VonWood now joins the ranks of cross-town competitor Timberhub who are doing much the same. Also in line with what the metals trading industry players such as Open Mineral, Vanilla Steel, and Metalshub are doing for timber’s metallic counterparts, VonWood is attempting to digitse and optimise an industry that’s been reliant on the paper they produce almost since the invention of paper itself.
As one might expect, an additional positive upside of digitising a centuries-old process includes far more information about the building material that buyers have come to expect, including the origin, quality and sustainability of the wood.
“You need guts to digitize an old market, but it also requires platform-thinking to organize processes more efficiently. VonWood has what it takes to modernize the timber trade using data-driven technology,” commented Peak co-founder Johan van Mil.
Lead image: Robin Spielmann