Amazon has become a fairly efficient system for creating millionaires: In a recent Jungle Scout survey of Amazon sellers, almost 20% had made $1 million or more from their businesses on the site.
A booming spinoff economy has sprung up around taking these businesses and combining them to form uber-brands – somewhat like a Procter & Gamble.
These so-called Amazon aggregators buy the most successful brands on the site and improve their marketing, packaging, and positioning to take them to the next level of profitability. Many aggregators are also picking up companies on other e-commerce platforms, including Shopify and Etsy.
Tactics in this category are rapidly shifting, but it’s now becoming common practice to take an omnichannel approach to the business: A brand may start out with a presence on only Amazon or Shopify, but the aggregator expands the brand’s availability across a variety of platforms.
Many aggregators also seek out what online-shopping enthusiasts may think of as “backward compatibility,” adding brick-and-mortar deals to the digital-marketplace presences that these brands have already established.
While a company such as GOJA, one of the leaders in this category, has been in business since 2009, this is such a profitable category at the moment that venture-capital money is flooding in and new companies are popping up almost every week.
Here’s a look at some of the top aggregators.
The following are listed in order of funding amount.
Total funding: $1.7 billion, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Harlan Capital Partners LLC, RiverPark Ventures, Upper90, PEAK6 Investments LLC, Advent International, Oaktree Capital Management, Jaws Ventures, Western Technology, Morgan Stanley Credit Partners, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Credit Suisse Loan Funding, Monroe Capital, RBC Capital Markets, Barclays, BlackRock, Jason Finger, Bank of America Securities, UBS, Bain Capital Credit, JPMorgan Chase
About: Thrasio is so synonymous with the Amazon umbrella space that the so-called wannabes have been dubbed “Faux-rasios” by Paul Rafelson, a noted seller’s attorney.
It’s for a good reason: Carlos Cashman and Josh Silberstein, the co-CEOs, have moved their team at a feverish pace, with 125 brands acquired and more than $1.7 billion in funds raised.
Headquartered in Walpole, Massachusetts, the company was valued at $3 billion in January, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Thrasio added capital-as-a-service to its portfolio of seller-support offerings. And it’s in talks to go public, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Total funding: $908.8 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Alumni Ventures Group, Spark Capital, SoftBank Investment Advisers, Boston Seed Capital, Eastward Capital Partners, Victory Park Capital, Tectonic Ventures
About: Perch is charging hard at Thrasio’s No. 1 positioning: In July, the company announced what appears to be the largest single acquisition in the aggregator space when it made public the purchase of Web Deals Direct, an Amazon heavyweight that did more than $80 million in sales last year.
A couple months prior, the company announced that it had secured the largest-ever Series A funding round raised by a consumer-goods company, with a $775 million investment led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. That massive infusion brought it up to almost a billion dollars in total funding to pursue the WDD deal and other direct-to-consumer brands for expansion.
Extensive e-commerce supply-chain knowledge is this company’s strong suit: CEO Chris Bell brings experience from three years at Wayfair, combined with a computer-engineering background, and his team is staffed with a number of former Wayfair employees.
Total funding: $137 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Tucker Kain, Torch Capital, Spencer Rascoff, Crosscut Ventures, Thomas O. Staggs, Daniel Farahi, Elie Seidman, Ken Romberg, Marc Mezvinsky, Scott Hendrickson
About: Boosted pairs the e-commerce pedigree of cofounder and CEO Keith Richman with the retail and consumer-demand expertise of cofounder and chair Charlie Chanaratsopon.
Chanaratsopon is the founder of the Charming Charlie accessories chain. And Richman, formerly of eBay, now serves on the board of directors of a number of digitally focused companies, including Grubhub.
Richman and Chanaratsopon are both heavy hitters in overseas markets, and Boosted has an omnichannel plan to underpin its companies’ Amazon sales.
Total funding: $325 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Crayhill Capital Management, DIA Management, 166 2nd Financial Services, Nordstar, Nathan Blecharczyk, Benvolio Group, Day One Ventures, Brian McGrath
About: Unybrands’ website said the company closed deals in less than four weeks because of its “extensive financial firepower,” which allowed it to pay out quickly. This is in contrast to most acquirers that adhere to a 45-day close. Unybrands also integrates Shopify direct-to-consumer stores into its portfolio in addition to Amazon brands.
At less than a year old, the company has a narrow focus on eight categories: personal care, pet care, household products, juvenile and baby, sports and fitness, garden and outdoor, lifestyle and arts, and supplements. Cofounder Ulrich Kratz told PYMNTS.com that he doesn’t believe it’s possible to “do it like a ‘Jack of all trades’ in every category.” He and his cofounders chose to pursue those categories in which they had personal experience — the team brings experience at Zulily, Amazon, and Walmart, among other places, to the table. Unybrands declined to disclose the number of brands it’s acquired and the specific brands in its portfolio.
Total funding: $317 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Pandu Sjahrir, FJ Labs, Acceleprise, Adam Jacobs, Mons Investment, Rob Tarkoff, Novel TMT Ventures, Khajak Keledjian, Ron Suber, Ted Zagat, Paul Gardi, Brad Lindenberg and Adam Ezra, Sean Glass
About: Elevate Brands evolved through all the phases of Amazon sales, from retail arbitrage to wholesale reselling, before becoming an aggregator.
CEO Ryan Gnesin aims to package those lessons learned and deliver scaled optimization to the brands his company acquires, something he said is “much easier” than being a seller.
Elevate, in Austin, Texas, offers brands experience in buying and operating private-label Amazon brands, and it’s working to transition those brands onto other direct-to-consumer platforms. The company has signed more than 25 brands, including Will’s Wine, Active Chews, and Essential Values.
Total funding: $265.9 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: L Catterton, Felix Capital, Sofina, 83North, Cherry Ventures, Christopher North, François Nuyts, David Schneider, Village Global, Max Kronberg
About: Malte Horeyseck and Philipp Triebel founded SellerX, which is headquartered in Berlin and has offices in London and Miami. The e-commerce veterans said they were inspired by the brands making customers happy by selling everyday staples on Amazon.
Those are the companies they target for acquisition, and they’ve picked up more than 30 brands to date. They declined to disclose their brands, but one successful acquisition on their website was the microelectronics brand AZ-Delivery.
Total funding: $245 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Arbor Ventures, General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Amazon, Mark Lavelle, eBay, PayPal
As such, the company buys brands. But, it said, it also has a platform that e-commerce entrepreneurs can plug into to accelerate their growth. The company’s website said this platform offered “technology, tools, and resources for sellers.”
Rymarz has assembled a varied team encompassing a mix of former Amazon executives and direct-to-consumer leaders — such as Ted Tsandes, a former creative director of Skullcandy, as the head of creative. Tina Sharkey, a cofounder of Brandless, sits on the company’s board. The company declined to provide details on how many brands it’s acquired or specific brands with which it works.
Berlin Brands Group
Total funding: $240 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: UniCredit Group, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank
About: Founded in Berlin in 2005, Berlin Brands Group started as a manufacturer and then began acquiring direct-to-consumer and Amazon brands to add to its portfolio.
While the company remains headquartered in Germany, it has offices all over the world, including in San Francisco, with its latest outposts in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.
Peter Chaljawski, the founder and CEO, said on BBG’s website that the company succeeded because of its omnichannel D2C strategy, as well as its history of building and launching award-winning products. The company has 14 brands under its umbrella, including the German brands Klarstein and Auna, as well as the global brand Schubert Musical Instruments.
Total funding: $175 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Atlantic Capital Bank, Compeer Financial, First Horizon Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Palm Beach Capital, Seaside National Bank and Trust, South State Bank, Synovus, Truist, Wells Fargo
About: Focused specifically on health and beauty brands, Growve offers its acquirees complete life-cycle services, from manufacturing all the way to marketing.
Unlike many of its competitors, it purchases partial shares of companies in which it’s interested, in addition to making complete acquisitions.
The company recently made Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US, and it’s acquired more than 20 brands, including Fruily, which the company said won “back-to-back Buyer’s Choice Awards for product innovation in health and wellness.”
Total funding: $160 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Singh Capital Partners, Aman Bhutani, CoVenture, Crossbeam Venture Partners
About: Raunak Nirmal and Wiley Zhang met while at Cornell, then went their separate ways. Nirmal became an analyst at WeWork and Amazon. Zhang went to work at Merrill Lynch.
In 2012, the pair brought together their accumulated knowledge to operate a portfolio of Amazon brands that they successfully serially exited over the course of five years, in turn plowing that experience into a pair of Amazon seller-focused companies: AMZLeap, which focused on helping sellers grow, and RefundLabs, which helped sellers recoup unnecessary fees levied by the retail marketplace.
In Acquco, they’re offering the knowledge, insight, and empathy they’ve attained over this journey to the Amazon third-party sellers they acquire. Working out of New York, they have a deep bench of former Amazon employees. They declined to disclose the exact number of brands they’ve acquired, but the brands include LiBa and PowerLix.
Total funding: $150 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Vine Ventures, Mark Pincus, Gabriel Naouri, Target Global, Regah Ventures, Kreos Capital, Lurra Capital, Declaration Partners, Jon Oringer, Kima Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Maximilian Bittner
About: Pierre Poignant’s Branded, with offices in Paris and New York, has come to the UK with credentials validated by Poignant’s dealings with Alibaba: Poignant cofounded Lazada Group, a retail, technology, and payments-infrastructure company in Southeast Asia, which he sold controlling interest of to the Chinese mega-marketplace for a total of $4 billion in 2018.
Another high-profile player, Michael Ronen, formerly of SoftBank, is Poignant’s cofounder and Branded’s president.
Poignant is leveraging his extensive e-commerce experience, as well as his proficiency with overseas markets, to attract brands — the company represents more than 25 to date.
Branded’s secret weapon may well be its understanding of logistics. COO Alexis Lanternier, with experience at Walmart, Alibaba, Lazada, and Amazon, leads this area.
Total funding: $150 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: i80 Group, Pace Capital, Material
About: The founding team of Suma is filled with e-commerce firepower: CEO Andrew Savage worked in customer experience with brands such as Target, Amazon, and Dolls Kill; Matt Salzburg, its chairman, is the chairman and former CEO of Blue Apron; Danielle David Parks, an embed from Material, comes from a talent and operations background at Amino Apps, Spoon University, and Google; and Andy Salomon, also from Material, is a veteran of both the US Navy and myriad successful e-commerce startups.
Derek Smith, the company’s business-development manager, said Suma is “channel agnostic” and “uniquely product- and customer-focused.” The company declined to disclose how many brands it’s acquired, but it said that two are Lone Cone and Turmaquik.
Cap Hill Brands
Total funding: $150 million, GeekWire reported
Investors: VersionOne Ventures, Victory Park Capital, Maveron
About: Two former Zulily executives pooled their expertise to form this company in mid-2020 and got off to a quick start. They’ve acquired more than 10 brands already in under a year.
The company reported that it features dedicated product-development teams both in the US and in Asia, in addition to a less-than-one-month turnaround.
Total funding: $113 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Define Ventures, Link Ventures
About: Focusing exclusively on the health and wellness category, Intrinsic has attracted Dr. Mehmet Oz and Tony Robbins as minority investors. The company said it intends to use the pair for “marketing and strategy” as part of its overall effort to build relationships with its brands’ consumers.
In addition to purchasing brands in seven health and wellness categories, Intrinsic also provides its brands with the opportunity to leverage its platform and services for growth without exiting.
Cofounder and CEO Yadin Shemmer has global e-commerce experience in the health and wellness vertical from medication-management platform Mango Health; patient- and provider-education company Everyday Health; and diagnostic-testing company Better2Know. He has assembled a team with major packaged-goods experience to execute his vision.
The company declined to release the number or names of brands it’s acquired. “Bridging commerce to care is our vision of using retail as an on-ramp to a broader set of healthcare offerings,” Shemmer said.
Total funding: $100 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: LightBay Capital, Monogram Capital Partners
About: While Foundry Brands has just one brand under its umbrella, the educational-poster company Motivation Without Borders, it’s now shopping with a $100 million budget and a new CEO.
Helen Vaid came to Foundry after serving as Pizza Hut’s global chief customer officer, which she said gave her unique empathy with the journey of the entrepreneurs with whom her new company plans to do business.
Vaid also notably directed a revamp of Walmart’s web-based and in-app e-commerce presence while a vice president at the world’s leading retailer.
Vaid has big goals for Foundry, intending to differentiate it from the pack by focusing on unlocking the potential within the brands it purchases.
Total funding: $65 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: 360 Capital, Chris Priebe, Philip Green, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Robinson, Fuel Ventures
About: Heroes, in London, was dubbed “the Thrasio of Europe” by TechCrunch after bagging a $65 million round of financing in November, a mix of equity and debt targeted at boosting its expansion capabilities.
The company was founded by brothers Alessio and Riccardo Bruni, formerly of Many, a men’s-health e-commerce company. With the goal of becoming “Europe’s largest acquirer of Amazon FBA brands,” it represents more than 20 brands, including TheraFlow, Premium Care, and Oliver James.
Total funding: $55 million, Crunchbase indicated
About: Computer-science students Benedict Dohmen and Santiago Nestares turned their aching backs — pained from hunching over a computer for long hours — into a profit by developing an orthopedic pillow to assuage the spasms and growing it into a multimillion-dollar Amazon seller.
The pair, cofounders of Benitago Group, ultimately came up with four more successful products. They then decided to take their earnings and the knowledge they’d accumulated and use them to help others succeed, while multiplying their investment.
Operating in New York and London, Benitago’s website said the company aimed to apply the “computer science mindset” in which both founders were trained to the world of product development and marketing.
The company operates about five brands under its umbrella, including its original brand, Supportiback.
Total funding: $50 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Falcon Edge Capital, InnoVen Capital, Rahul Mehta, Alteria Capital, Scott Shleifer, Norwest Venture Partners, Kunal Shah, Accel, Mukesh Bansal
About: Mensa, founded in 2021 by Ananth Narayanan, focuses on brands in the lifestyle, home, and beauty categories.
With headquarters in Bangalore, India, the company focuses on keeping operating expenses down and staying close to the supply chain, while its executive team offers sellers a variety of retail, finance, and consulting expertise.
A report from Money Control, an Indian business publication, said Narayanan structured Mensa on the Thrasio blueprint, intending to specialize in the apparel, home-appliance, personal-care, and beauty markets. The same report quoted anonymous sources as saying the company had signed 15 letters of intent at the time of publication, and that it was in talks to receive as much as an additional $400 million in funding from Tiger Global Management. (Tiger is already invested in some of Mensa’s direct competitors, including Branded Group.)
Win Brands Group
Total funding: $50 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Oaktree Capital Management, Assembled Brands, Burch Creative Capital
About: Unlike most of its competitors, Win takes a Shopify-first approach to the marketplace.
The three brands under its umbrella — Homesick Candles, Gravity Blankets, and QALO — already have significant representation at retail as well, including at stores such as Target and Bloomingdale’s, the company said.
But Amazon is a critically important part of its brands’ business mix. Kyle Widrick, Win Brands’ CEO and cofounder, said the company viewed Amazon as “the largest shopping mall in the world” and had put a lot of emphasis on growing its brands’ presence there, including with a dedicated team of experts.
“We’ve seen this strategy pay off across our portfolio, and with Homesick especially, who we’ve helped grow from a nascent Amazon business into becoming the No. 1 scented-candle brand on the platform,” he added.
Aterian (formerly Mohawk Group)
Total funding: Listed on the Nasdaq on June 12, 2019
About: Yaniv Sarig, Aterian’s cofounder and CEO, and his team have capitalized on their worldwide reach to build their brands. The company, headquartered in New York, has offices in five countries and employees in nine, its website said.
Aterian not only acquires companies but also develops its own original products in response to consumer demand, as pinpointed by its artificial-intelligence and data-analysis engine, which it calls AIMEE.
Aterian, the only acquirer in this roundup that’s publicly traded in the US, raised $36 million on the day of its initial public offering on a valuation of $175 million. It has 14 brands under its umbrella, including hOmeLabs, Mueller Austria, Spiralizer, and Squatty Potty.
Technology Commerce Management (TCM Digital)
Total funding: $28 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Not available
About: Technology Commerce Management (TCM Digital) uses its so-called Smart Brain technology — which combines big data, AI, machine learning, and deep learning — to evaluate and acquire Amazon businesses, and then leverage opportunities to scale them.
Algorithms and analyses are the standard recipe for this industry, but TCM’s headquarters in Israel means it offers a global perspective to US sellers: It recently brought one business that was successful on Amazon in North America to the site’s outposts on another four continents, generating $300,000 in profit in one month, cofounder Shani Bar told IsraelNationalNews.com.
Total funding: $27 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: Greg Waldorf, Norwest Venture Partners, NFX, Concrete Rose Capital, Architect Capital
About: Forum Brands is led by a group of former Amazon technologists that’s spearheaded by Brenton Howland and Ruben Amar, Forum’s cofounders and co-CEOs. The company buys brands that do the majority of their business on Amazon and that have built considerable followings around them.
Amar came to the business from the world of private equity. Howland also did a stint in that area, as well as at McKinsey, prior to spending a brief time working in corporate development at Shift, the online used-car website.
Total funding: $10 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investors: FoundersX Ventures, Nate Lipscomb, Nate Matherson, Y Combinator, Maropost Ventures
About: Moonshot, which acquires both Amazon natives and direct-to-consumer brands, said in a news release published in June that it’s not prioritizing the quantity of acquisitions, unlike many of its competitors. The company “is focused on working with a small number of brands that grow into category leaders,” the release said.
C.J. Isakow and Allan Fisch serve as co-CEOs of the company. While Fisch brings the experience of growing a trio of successful brands to exit, Isakow scaled the e-commerce brand Shift to $100 million.
Moonshot has chosen to focus on an omnichannel approach for its brands, beginning with Amazon and branching into DTC and brick-and-mortar retail.
Total funding: $1.3 million, Crunchbase indicated
Investor: Amit Sharma
About: Sean Kim and Taylor Doherty, Highfive’s co-CEOs and cofounders, met while working at the popular men’s-grooming e-commerce brand Harry’s.
The pair has assembled a team with a strong e-commerce pedigree, with experience at trendy, thriving brands such Warby Parker, Hubble, Ro, and Seamless — add to this an infusion of capital from Amit Sharma, the founder and managing partner at Black Jays, the venture-capital firm behind the dental-health brand Quip and many other successful companies.
Highfive focuses on acquiring Shopify and Etsy brands in addition to Amazon sellers. The company did not respond to a request for information on brands under its umbrella.
Total funding: Undisclosed
Investors: 3L Capital, Next Coast Ventures
About: GOJA — a privately held company that has mostly steered clear of the rivers of venture-capital money flowing through the Amazon umbrella space (the exception being undisclosed investments from 3L Capital and Next Coast Ventures) — operates outside the spotlight of many big players.
President Walter Gonzalez said he considers the technical expertise his company offers in optimizing brands for Amazon its strong suit, while sellers that have joined forces with the group raved about the way it handled deals before, during, and after.
The company targets brands that have a limited number of stock-keeping units combining to throw off $2 million or more in annual revenue, with a sweet spot between $5 million and $15 million. The company, which has been in business since 2009, has an undisclosed number of brands under its umbrella, including Alien Sunshade, TireTek, and Love, Lori.
Total funding: Undisclosed
About: D1 is a privately held company in New York City. Mohammed Usman and Yaz Malas, a former finance specialist, cofounded the company in the third quarter of 2020.
Malas said the company specializes in offering sellers a personalized experience that includes access to him, Usman, and other high-level D1 executives on a 24/7 basis.
He added that they average a 27-day closing period and have a 100% close rate, the latter because senior leaders source all investment opportunities led by a data-driven system that enables the D1 team to make investment decisions with a high degree of confidence. Additionally, D1 pays in cash.
Total funding: Unknown
About: CEO Philip Butler is a medical doctor and holds a bachelor of science in materials science and engineering from MIT.
But perhaps most important to the entrepreneurs he works with at Dragonfly is the fact that he grew a successful Amazon business, the medical-school-textbook startup Veya, into a $60 million company.
Butler founded Dragonfly in 2019, brought CTO Jeremy Todd over from Veya with him, and added COO Peter Ryan and CFO Adam Malpocher, veterans of Wayfair’s renowned logistics operation, to round out the company’s C-suite.
Dragonfly declined to release information on the number of brands it’s acquired or to name the brands.
Total funding: Unknown
About: “Made in the USA” is the point of differentiation at Greenhaus. The aggregator, cofounded by brothers Sam and Albert Haddad, specializes in Amazon FBA brands that have their manufacturing located stateside.
The pair has brand-building experience, including on Amazon, and Sam Haddad said they’ve “crafted tailored criteria based on years of learning what works and what doesn’t.”
While he said the company has four brands under its umbrella, he didn’t comment on any of the specific brands it’s acquired.
Total Funding: Unknown
About: Founded by the tech experts Matt Howitt and Nirav Bhagat, who also comes from finance, Profound Commerce originated in 2019 and operates out of Austin, Texas, and Cebu City, Philippines.
Total funding: Unknown
About: Mark Lewyn founded JEM Partners, a successful Amazon business, for $500. The author of “The $500 Start-Up on Amazon” then collaborated with Hal Widlansky to found Sorfeo.
Widlandsky said that Sorfeo targeted brands with $100,000 to $1 million in annual sales, making them generally smaller and newer to the market than most of those on the radar of larger aggregators.
The company operates a total of nine brands, seven of which were acquisitions and two that were original launches from Sorfeo in 2021 — that Sorfeo makes its own products is another unique aspect of the company.
Total funding: Unknown
About: Karim Bhai, Aamir Bhai, Ned Hakam, and Ace Hemani founded UmbrellaFund in 2019 as a private-equity firm. Recently, UmbrellaFund converted to a technology-based Amazon acquirer.
The partners bring a variety of skills to the table, as Karim and Aamir Bhai have a portfolio of experience that’s largely finance- and technology-based, while Hakam’s experience includes nine years of operating an e-commerce company.