European charity-auction startup CharityStars has secured $2.2 million in new funding and plans to use the infusion to expand into the United States and China, reports TechCrunch. The company, based in Milan, Italy, has already launched a Chinese version of its site and recently opened a London office.
CharityStars says it helps hundreds of nonprofits and corporations to raise money via bidding for celebrity encounters, sports memorabilia, VIP tickets to special events, and other items. It has opened up its platform to allow private individuals to hold auctions and donate some of the proceeds, and for online users to bid against attendees at in-person charity galas.
The firm takes a 20 percent commission per sale, in contrast to eBay’s free hosting of charity auctions. But Francesco Nazari Fusetti said such sales at eBay can get lost amid the e-commerce site’s millions of other auctions. “In CharityStars we have created a specific platform where VIPs, companies, and users come together for the greater good,” he said.