A comprehensive guide to marketplace valuation

As a founder, establishing a marketplace valuation enables you to make better strategic decisions, but also assists you in enticing suitable investors to back the funding of your marketplace.

The process of marketplace business appraisals can be intricate, with a variety of differing valuation methodologies that may be employed to establish a marketplace’s financial worth.

In this article, we will explore some of the most popular valuation techniques for online marketplaces and provide an understanding of how to leverage them effectively.

The most popular marketplace valuation methods

1. Revenue Multiples

One of the simplest strategies of valuation involves the use of revenue multiples. This technique involves multiplying the revenue generated by your marketplace by a specific factor to ascertain a valuation. The multiple you decide on will be influenced by various aspects such as your market sector, pace of growth, and level of profit.

For instance, considering the multiples of B2B marketplace valuation, if your B2B marketplace generates an annual revenue of £1 million, and the standard multiple for your industry is four, your B2B marketplace valuation would equate to £4 million.

Though calculating marketplace valuation multiples is comparatively straightforward, it does come with some restrictions. For example, revenue multiples may not be suitable for startups that are yet to generate substantial revenue.

2. EBITDA Multiples

Another strategy to determine your marketplace’s value can be through EBITDA multiples. EBITDA, an acronym for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation, is a technique that multiplies your company’s EBITDA by a specific factor to ascertain a valuation.

EBITDA multiples, similar to revenue multiples, are relatively straightforward to calculate. However, they too possess limitations. For instance, EBITDA does not take into consideration the effect of taxes or capital expenditures on your enterprise.

3. Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) Multiples

A GMV valuation multiple is typically applied to businesses that facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers. This method involves multiplying your marketplace’s EBITDA by a specific factor to arrive at a valuation.

However, it’s crucial to remember that marketplace valuation multiples represent just one component of the equation when it comes to determining a marketplace’s worth. Additional aspects, such as growth potential, competition, and market conditions, also need to be factored in.

4. Market-Based Valuation

A market-based valuation compares your enterprise to similar companies that have recently been sold or have become public. This technique utilises market data to estimate the amount investors would be willing to pay for enterprises like yours.

A market-based valuation can be a viable option for startups as it does not rely on making assumptions about future cash flows. However, identifying comparable companies can be challenging, particularly for startups operating in niche markets.

5. Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

The discounted cash flow (DCF) method is a more advanced valuation technique that considers future cash flows. This methodology involves predicting the future cash flows your enterprise is expected to generate and then discounting those cash flows back to their present value using a discount rate.

The discount rate signifies the time value of money and the risk associated with your enterprise. For instance, if your enterprise operates in a highly competitive market, your discount rate may be higher than if you were in a less competitive market.

6. Asset-Based Valuation

Asset-based valuation involves ascertaining the value of your marketplace based on the value of its assets. This methodology is usually employed when a company’s assets are more valuable than its future earnings potential.

To apply an asset-based valuation, you need to calculate the value of your company’s assets, which can include tangible assets such as machinery and inventory, and intangible assets like intellectual property and customer databases. From this total value, you would then subtract any liabilities to arrive at a net asset value.

Although asset-based valuation can be beneficial for businesses with valuable assets, it may not be suitable for early-stage startups that are centred on growth and possess limited assets.

What is the best valuation method for a marketplace?

As demonstrated, there is a variety of valuation strategies that you can leverage to estimate your marketplace valuation. Each method possesses its unique benefits and drawbacks, and the suitable method will hinge on your specific business scenario and circumstances.

In the end, the valuation of your marketplace is not just a numerical figure but a depiction of your marketplace’s potential for growth. While it’s vital to have a pragmatic understanding of your company’s worth, it’s equally critical to concentrate on the factors that will propel long-term success.


As a founder of a marketplace, your attention should be focused on assembling a robust team, developing a unique product, and establishing a sustainable business model. By doing so, you can enhance your company’s value and attract investors who resonate with your vision.

It’s also significant to recognise that marketplace company valuations are not a one-time occurrence. As your marketplace develops and adapts, your valuation will transform, and it may become necessary to reassess your company’s worth. Regularly reviewing and updating your valuation can assist you in making informed decisions and ensure that you are on the correct path to accomplish your objectives.