Our story

Who are we?

We are Trade Me, the place where Kiwis buy and sell online. We're the leading online marketplace and classified advertising platform in New Zealand.

This includes auctions and fixed-priced sales for new and used goods, with automotive, real estate and employment businesses.

We also have web businesses specialising in accommodation and online dating. On top of that, we sell advertising across our portfolio of websites.

The core idea of Trade Me is simple: we connect people and businesses, and provide them with the information and tools they need to undertake a transaction. 

Our history

The year was 1999, and a young computer consultant named Sam Morgan founded a small website called Trade Me. According to folklore, Sam designed Trade Me after a frustrating experience buying a heater for his chilly flat.

Whether that's a true story shall remain a tale of yore; nevertheless, the fact remains that Sam was fed up with other websites that didn't cater well to Kiwis, and he reckoned he could offer something better.

It was a novel concept; people sending money to sellers they've never met, for goods they've never seen. Sam single-handedly built the site and ran it out of his small Wellington flat and, within two days, Trade Me had its first twenty registered users.

More than ten years on, Trade Me has become a household name.

For more about our history check out the timeline below or see Trade Me: The Inside Story by Trade Me's former head of Operations & Marketplace, Mike O'Donnell (MOD).


1999   Trade Me established by Sam Morgan

2000   Success fees introduced

2001   FindSomeone launched

2002   OldFriends launched

2003   Trade Me Motors launched

           100,000 concurrent listings achieved

           Staff count: 100

2004   NZ's fastest-growing company in 'Deloitte Fast 50'   

2005   Trade Me Property launched

2006   Trade Me Jobs launched

            #1 most viewed auction: Hurricanes handbag & cellphone

2007    Travelbug launched

            Pay Now launched

            1 billion page impressions/month 

2008    1 million concurrent listings achieved

2009    Acquisition of Holiday Houses

           Popular auction: Roofliss the Toyota Townace Interisland van

2010    Trade Me daily deals launched

            Acquisition of BookIt

            iPhone app launched

2011    Treat Me launched

            1 million members logging in each month

            Staff count: 200

2012    Trade Me listed as a public company

            Popular auction: Radio Network building implosion

            Acquisition of Holiday HomesAutoBase and Tradevine

            Trade Me makes it into the NZX 50 Index

2013    Treat Me sold

            Daily deals finished

            Acquisition of LifeDirect and MotorWeb

2014    50% of all Trade Me sessions are now via mobile

            Staff count: 357

            Acquisition of Paystation and ViewingTracker

           Popular auction: Radio frequency sells for a record $7.4m 

2015    Launched Trade Me Insurance

            Invested in Harmoney

           Trade Me named NZ's most influential local brand by Ipsos

           1 billionth listing goes live

2016   Old Friends closed

           Book a courier launched 

2017   Safetrader closed

           Launched Buyer Protection

2019   Trade Me acquired by Apax Partners

Apax Partners has a long track record of investing in marketplace businesses across the globe. Current and past investments include boats in the US/Spain with Boat TraderYacht WorldBoats.com and Cosas De Barcos, auto with AutoTrader UKTrader Canada, real estate with Idealista in SpainPortugal and Italy. Their most recent acquisition was Baltic Classifieds Group who operate 12 marketplace businesses including AutopliusSkelbiu and Aruodas in Lithuania.

Be a part of the Trade Me story

Be a part of the Trade Me story

Our headquarters are located on Wellington's beautiful waterfront, with offices in Auckland and Christchurch.

Keen to join our team? We offer a fun, vibrant work environment with a uniquely Kiwi culture. Check out our vacancies and what it's like to work here.