Sifted brunch in Vilnius: an exclusive interview with Vinted CEO Thomas Plantenga
„Setting up a brunch with Thomas Plantenga, CEO of secondhand clothes marketplace Vinted, feels more like organising a meeting with the head of a bank than a startup boss“ Sifted journalist Zosia Wanat writes in her newest artical. „But with Plantenga himself, I feel like I’m back in the startup world.“
The brunch takes place in Vinted’s Google-like canteen — which offers subsidised meals for its 1,000+ employees in Vilnius. Vinted has a textbook startup story: it began not in a garage, but in one of its cofounders’ wardrobes, and after financial ups and downs it became Lithuania’s first unicorn in 2019.
It’s backed by some of the world’s leading VC firms, including Accel, Lightspeed, EQT and Insight Partners, has raised a total of $532m and (at last count) has a €3.5bn valuation. But it now feels like a very “grown up” business.
It’s 15 years old, employs more than 1,500 people in six offices and has customers in 19 markets across Europe and North America Plantenga first started at Vinted in 2016 as a consultant, brought in to help get the company out of deep financial trouble. He came with startup experience: he’d worked at a Dutch marketplace, OLX, for a couple of years, and founded his own software platform, Bookaboat.
Only a year later he was promoted to CEO, taking over from one of Vinted’s original cofounders, Justas Janauskas, with whom he’s still in regular contact. Back then, he says the company was “on this incredibly tight line not to not go bankrupt”.
“We survived that,” he adds. “That was such a harsh experience, so tough that you would never forget that. You would do everything to make sure that this company is in a financially safe position.”
Read more in Zosia Wanat‘s article at Sifted