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Olsam raises $165M to buy up and scale consumer and B2B Amazon Marketplace sellers

On the heels of Heroes announcing a $200 million raise earlier today, to double down on buying and scaling third-party Amazon Marketplace sellers, another startup out of London aiming to do the same is announcing some significant funding of its own. Olsam, a roll-up play that is buying up both consumer and B2B merchants selling on Amazon by way of Amazon's FBA fulfillment program, has closed $165 million — a combination of equity and debt that it will be using to fuel its M&A strategy, as well as continue building out its tech platform and to hire more talent.

Apeiron Investment Group — an investment firm started by German entrepreneur Christian Angermayer — led the Series A equity round, with Elevat3 Capital (another Angermayer firm that has a strategic partnership with Founders Fund and Peter Thiel) also participating. North Wall Capital was behind the debt portion of the deal. We have asked and Olsam is only disclosing the full amount raised, not the amount that was raised in equity versus debt. Valuation is also not being disclosed.

Being an Amazon roll-up startup from London that happens to be announcing a fundraise today is not the only thing that Olsam has in common with Heroes. Like Heroes, Olsam is also founded by brothers.

Sam Horbye previously spent years working at Amazon, including building and managing the company's Business Marketplace (the B2B version of the consumer Marketplace); while co-founder Ollie Horbye had years of experience in strategic consulting and financial services.

Between them, they had also built and sold previous marketplace businesses, and they believe that this collective experience gives Olsam — a portmanteau of their names, “Ollie” and “Sam” — a leg up when it comes to building relationships with merchants; identifying quality products (versus the vast seas of search results that often feel like they are selling the same inexpensive junk as each other); and understanding merchants' challenges and opportunities, and building relationships with Amazon and understanding how the merchant ecosystem fits into the e-commerce giant's wider strategy.

Olsam is also taking a slightly different approach when it comes to target companies, by focusing not just on the usual consumer play, but also on merchants selling to businesses. B2B selling is currently one of the fastest-growing segments in Amazon's Marketplace, and it is also one of the more overlooked by consumers.”It's flying under the radar,” Ollie said.

“The B2B opportunity is very exciting,” Sam added. “A growing number of merchants are selling office supplies or more random products to the B2B customer.”

Estimates vary when it comes to how many merchants there are selling on Amazon's Marketplace globally, ranging anywhere from 6 million to nearly 10 million. Altogether those merchants generated $300 million in sales (gross merchandise value), and its growing by 50% each year at the moment.

And consolidating sellers — in order to achieve better economies of scale around supply chains, marketing tools and analytics, and more — is also big business. Olsam estimates that some $7 billion has been spent cumulatively on acquiring these businesses, and there are more out there: Olsam estimates that there are some 3,000 businesses in the UK alone making more than $1 million each in sales on Amazon's platform.

(And to be clear, there are a number of other roll-up startups beyond Heroes also eyeing up that opportunity. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars in aggregate,  others have made moves this year include Suma Brands ($150 million); Elevate Brands ($250 million); Perch ($775 million); factory14 ($200 million); Thrasio (currently probably the biggest of them all in terms of reach and money raised and ambitions), HeydayThe Razor GroupBrandedSellerXBerlin Brands Group (X2), Benitago, Latin America’s Valoreo and Rainforest and Una Brands out of Asia.)

“The senior team behind Olsam is what makes this business truly unique,” said Angermayer in a statement. “Having all been successful in building and selling their own brands within the market and having worked for Amazon in their marketplace team – their understanding of this space is exceptional.”

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(UK) Drafting Terms & Conditions, Cookie Policy, and Privacy Policy for your ecommerce website. Did you do these yourself, or did you consult a commercial lawyer?

As above…

What steps did you take? And if you used a commercial lawyer, how much did it cost you?

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Browse the Best Shopify Themes for Your Online Store (No Matter What Industry You’re In)

The best Shopify themes for any industry.

Shopify’s mission is to make commerce better for everyone, and to date, we’ve helped over 1 million independent businesses turn what they’re into, into a business. Part of fulfilling that promise means ensuring our platform has beautiful, mobile-friendly themes available so you can build and customize your online store to your liking.

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What platform to start selling Digital Assets?

Hi all! Hoping for a little guidance, very new to eCommerce and the like. I'm looking for an adequate sales platform that will allow me to sell my assets.

I'm starting up a business that will be primarily an equipment rental company, but a side passive income project is selling digital assets that we create using the specialist equipment. I want to sell these assets in packs, and in part of a subscription service.

For example, we might have ten packs of 50 assets each, each pack can be bought for $99. Or, a consumer can subscribe for $15/m, and download 15 assets from any pack per month.

All the products will be completely digital, and be downloaded by the customer through our website or whichever platform we might be using. The key thing is that a customer needs to be able to buy and download the packs easily, or subscribe to multiple available tiers of the service. If subscribed, they need to then be able to download any of the assets on the site and have this limited to the amount of "credits" associated to their tier of subscription.

Most similar examples of this I have found seem to be completely integrated into their site, and I don't have the budget to hire a web developer to do something like that. I just need a service that can do what I need and then embed to my site.

Many thanks!

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Cheeterz Club wants to make reading glasses hip

Can reading glasses actually be cool? A new eyewear company called Cheeterz Club thinks so. The startup is working to change the perception of reading glasses from being just cheap, disposable items you pick up from a rotating display rack at your local drug store to being something you'd actually be proud to wear. To do so, the company is designing its glasses with quality lenses and frames in range of styles, while still keeping the pricing affordable.

The startup — whose name is a reference to the slang term for glasses, “cheaters,” — was founded by Jennifer Farrelly, whose background includes work in advertising and sales at companies like Uber and Virool.

She said the idea to make a better set of readers came to her because she found herself frustrated by the current options on the market.

“It all started a few years ago. My friends were posting on social media these really depressing comments and posts like: ‘I'm old and turning into my parents, this is awful.' And I [thought to myself] why does it have to be like that? I feel just as young today as I did ten years ago,” Farrelly explains. “Why are my friends and I feeling forced to feel old because of something that happens overnight?,” she says, of what felt like the sudden onset of middle age and the hardships it brings.

What's worse, Farrelly says, is that when you finally make your way to the drugstore to pick out some reading glasses, all you'll find are bad, plastic pairs that both look and feel cheap.

“That's even more demoralizing,” she adds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So Farrelly teamed up with a former Warby Parker and Pair Eyewear Head of Product, Lee Zaro, to design a new line of more fashion-forward eyewear.

Zaro, who's based in the L.A. area, immediately saw the opportunity.

“Drugstore reading glasses are typically poor in quality, and can feel like they are designed with our parents in mind, leaving a huge unmet need for sophisticated eyewear options,” he said. “When Jennifer approached me to help design her first line of eyewear, I knew it was a brilliant idea.”

To differentiate itself from lower-end readers, Cheeterz Club glasses are made with 100% acetate and feature spring hinges and stainless steel. The lenses, meanwhile, offer more clarity than is often found in reading glasses.

Image Credits: Cheeterz Club

Typically, ophthalmic plastic lens materials have an Abbe value — a measure of the degree at which light is dispersed or separated — between 30 and 58. The higher number offers better optical performance. Crown glass can have an Abbe value as high as 59, but polycarbonate readers (like those from Warby Parker, Farrelly notes) would have an Abbe value of 30. Cheeterz Club lenses, which are CR-39 lenses, are at at 58. This is a difference you can tell when trying the glasses on alongside your drugstore readers.

Cheeterz' lenses also offer 100% UVA/UVB protection, and are oil and water repellent. They can optionally be bought in one of eight fashion tints, from pink to blue, or in two sun shades. Consumers can also opt to add Blue Light coating to help with screen-induced eye fatigue or they can choose Progressive lenses, which combine distance vision with a reading lens.

Tints are an extra $10, Blue Light protection is $25, and Progressive lenses are $40.99 — lower than market rates.

At launch, Cheeterz Club offers 14 different styles ranging from traditional to the more modern, starting at $28.99.

Farrelly says finding the right price was key, because unlike regular glasses, consumers often buy multiple pairs of readers to leave around the house or car, pack in purses and bags, and so on.

“If I break something that costs me a couple $100, I'd be really upset about it,” she says. “But at a drugstore price of under $30, I can have them in all sorts of colors and different tints.”

For Farrelly, making the startup a success goes beyond brining higher-quality reading glasses to market. It's also about serving a demographic that often gets overlooked.

“Founders in their forties do not get representation, and it's unfortunate. And there are also people in their forties and fifties that have disposable income and are looking for cute things. They're spending so much money on facial creams and Botox,” she says, “but then you're forced to put this really ugly pair of glasses on your face that make you feel bad about yourself.”

While Cheeterz Club today is selling direct to the consumer, the company is talking to eye doctors, boutiques and others who may eventually resell for them, as more of a B2B model. It's also testing selling on Amazon with one pair of Blue Light glasses.

Cheeterz Club plans to start discussing fundraising with seed investors later this fall.

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UK-based Heroes raises $200M to buy up more Amazon merchants for its roll-up play

Heroes, one of the new wave of startups aiming to build big e-commerce businesses by buying up smaller third-party merchants on Amazon's Marketplace, has raised another big round of funding to double down on that strategy. The London startup has picked up $200 million, money that it will mainly be using to snap up more merchants. Existing brands in its portfolio cover categories like baby, pets, sports, personal health and home and garden categories — some of them, like PremiumCare dog chews, the Onco baby car mirror, gardening tool brand Davaon and wooden foot massager roller Theraflow, category best-sellers — and the plan is to continue building up all of these verticals.

Crayhill Capital Management, a fund based out of New York, is providing the funding, and Riccardo Bruni — who co-founded the company with twin brother Alessio and third brother Giancarlo — said that the bulk of it will be going towards making acquisitions, and is therefore coming in the form of debt.

Raising debt rather than equity at this point is pretty standard for companies like Heroes. Heroes itself is pretty young: it launched less than a year ago, in November 2020, with $65 million in funding, a round comprised of both equity and debt. Other investors in the startup include 360 Capital, Fuel Ventures and Upper 90.

Heroes is playing in what is rapidly becoming a very crowded field. Not only are there are tens of thousands of businesses leveraging Amazon's extensive fulfillment network to sell goods on the e-commerce giant's Marketplace; but some days it seems we are also rapidly approaching a state of nearly as many startups launching to consolidate these third-party sellers.

Many a roll-up play follows a similar playbook, which goes like this: Amazon provides the Marketplace to sell goods to consumers, and the infrastructure to fulfill those orders, by way of Fulfillment By Amazon and its Prime service. Meanwhile, the roll-up business — in this case Heroes — buys up a number of the stronger companies leveraging FBA and the Marketplace. Then, by consolidating them into a single tech platform that they have built, Heroes creates better economies of scale around better and more efficient supply chains, sharper machine learning and marketing and data analytics technology, and new growth strategies. 

What is notable about Heroes, though — apart from the fact that it's the first roll-up player to come out of the UK, and continues to be one of the bigger players in Europe — is that it doesn't believe that the technology plays as important a role as having a solid relationship with the companies it's targeting, key given that now the top Marketplace sellers are likely being feted by a number of companies as acquisition targets.

“The tech is very important,” said Alessio in an interview. “It helps us build robust processes that tie all the systems together across multiple brands and marketplaces. But what we have is very different from a SaaS business. We are not building an app, and tech is not the core of what we do. From the acquisitions side, we believe that human interactions ultimately win. We don’t think tech can replace a strong acquisition process.”

Image Credits: Heroes

Heroes' three founder-brothers (two of them, Riccardo and Alessio, pictured above) have worked across a number of investment, finance and operational roles (the CVs include Merrill Lynch, EQT Ventures, Perella Weinberg Partners, Lazada, Nomura and Liberty Global) and they say there have been strong signs so far of its strategy working: of the brands that it has acquired since launching in November, they claim business (sales) has grown five-fold.

Collectively, the roll-up startups are raising hundreds of millions of dollars to fuel these efforts. Other recent hopefuls that have announced funding this year include Suma Brands ($150 million); Elevate Brands ($250 million); Perch ($775 million); factory14 ($200 million); Thrasio (currently probably the biggest of them all in terms of reach and money raised and ambitions), HeydayThe Razor GroupBrandedSellerXBerlin Brands Group (X2), Benitago, Latin America’s Valoreo and Rainforest and Una Brands out of Asia. 

The picture that is emerging across many of these operations is that many of these companies, Heroes included, do not try to make their particular approaches particularly more distinctive than those of their competitors, simply because — with nearly 10 million third-party sellers today on Amazon globally — the opportunity is likely big enough for all of them, and more, not least because of current market dynamics.

“It's no secret that we were inspired by Thrasio and others,” Riccardo said. “Combined with Covid-19, there has been a massive acceleration of e-commerce across the continent.” It was that, plus the realization that the three brothers had the right e-commerce, fundraising and investment skills between them, that made them see what was a “perfect storm” to tackle the opportunity, he continued. “So that is why we jumped into it.”

In the case of Heroes, while the majority of the funding will be used for acquisitions, it's also planning to double headcount from its current 70 employees before the end of this year with a focus on operational experts to help run their acquired businesses. 

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Unpack the features of Dawn, Shopify’s flexible, mobile-first theme

Everything you need to know about Shopify’s latest theme.

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Find Your Online Marketing Mix: Tools You Need to Succeed

Mix up your online marketing! From free to paid, explore the best tools you need to get noticed, convert visitors into customers, & follow up for maximum impact

The post Find Your Online Marketing Mix: Tools You Need to Succeed appeared first on WooCommerce.

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Compounds Foods brews up $4.5M to make coffee without beans

Maricel Saenz, founder and CEO of Compound Foods, is among the over 80% of Americans who love a cup of coffee daily. And she also loves the environment.

However, when the Costa Rican-born entrepreneur, now living in the Bay Area, saw how climate change was affecting coffee growers around the world — coffee is the fifth-most polluting crop in the value chain — she wanted to create a coffee product that tasted good, but was also sustainable.

“Temperatures are rising and combined with erratic rains are leading to lower crop yield,” Saenz told TechCrunch. “The same crop can’t grow in the same place anymore, or it will be a lower quality product. Farmers in Costa Rica are having to sell their land or go higher up the mountain. Experts predict that 50% of farmland will be unsuitable in the next couple of decades.”

Founded in 2020, Compound Foods uses synthetic biology to create coffee without coffee beans by extracting molecules. Saenz said the company spent a lot of time examining what makes coffee, well coffee, and then trying to correlate flavors and aromas in certain ways.

And yes, the company can still call it “coffee” even if it doesn’t contain coffee beans because there is no official regulatory definition, she said.

They use food science to recreate a base formula using sustainable ingredients that also don’t use a lot of water — she said it takes 140 liters of water along the coffee growth chain to make one cup of coffee. The company is also working toward a goal of being able to recreate coffee inspired by flavors that you would get from different areas of the world, like Costa Rica, but also the chocolate notes from a cup of Brazilian coffee.

Compound Foods announced $4.5 million in seed funding to give it total funding of $5.3 million to date. Backers of the company include Chris Sacca’s climate fund Lowercarbon Capital, SVLC, Humboldt Fund, Collaborative Fund, Maple VC, Petri Bio and angel investors like Nick Green, CEO of Thrive Market.

Saenz intends to use the new funding to improve the formulation and scale up the brand as the company works toward a soft launch by the end of the year.

There are a few competitors in the space doing different technology, including Seattle-based Atomo, which said it makes its coffee from “other fruits and plants that had seeds similar to coffee beans.”

Compound Foods is hiring coffee lovers to help build out its technology and to expand its marketing, product and business teams.

Saenz is clear that the company is not competing with coffee.

“We love coffee and know the farmers, and we are providing an alternative solution,” she added. “We want to recreate it, and even drink it on Mars one day, and we want to bring the coffee farmers and the industry with us on the journey.”

 

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Looking for help with our landing page.

Hello all,

We've been looking at this group for tips and tricks as we transition to a more online presence. Previously, most of our marketing and sales have been driven by physical efforts. But, we're ready to go online!

We host music industry conferences and our next conference is online. We're asking you all to let us know if our landing page inspires you to take action. Is there anything that will help us convert visitors to customers? We're open to all opinions, and we can't wait to hear from you!

Landing Page

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