Connect with us

Uncategorized

SellerX raises $118M to buy up and grow Amazon marketplace businesses

Published

on

As Amazon’s Marketplace continues to grow and mature, a new opportunity has emerged in the world of e-commerce for a new breed of startups to consolidate the most promising of the smaller businesses that sell via Amazon’s platform, and build out their own economies of scale within that ecosystem. In the latest development, SellerX — a new outfit in Berlin — has closed a round of $118 million (€100 million) that it plans to use to roll up smaller enterprises that use Fullfilment by Amazon for payments, logistics and delivery for their products.

The round is being co-led by Cherry Ventures, Felix Capital and TriplePoint Capital, with participation also from Village Global, with Zalando co-founder David Schneider, Shutterfly CEO and former Amazon UK CEO Chris North, and the founders of KW Commerce, a big Amazon seller out of Germany (selling mobile phone accessories and home goods), also participating.

Notably, this $118 million is a seed round for the company, the first real money that it has raised to date, and it comes in the form of some equity, but mostly debt, which SellerX will use for acquisitions to play out its strategy, in the words of Malte Horeyseck (who co-founded the startup with Philipp Triebel) to become “the digital Procter & Gamble.”

SellerX’s focus will be “evergreen consumer goods,” said Triebel, in areas like household, pets, garden supplies, goods for kids and beauty. It has made one acquisition to date; and although it declined to disclose to me what it is, Horeyseck said that it, combined possibly with other acquisitions it will make in the coming weeks, will give SellerX a revenue run rate of €20 million by the end of this year.

The horse has well and truly bolted in the world of Amazon marketplace roll-ups: the last several months have seen a number of startups raise large rounds of funding, with sizable proportions of the sums in debt, in order to go out and consolidate the most interesting smaller companies that are selling and getting their orders fulfilled by Amazon.

Just yesterday, another player in this space based out of the U.S. called Heyday announced a round of $175 million. Earlier this week, London-based Heroes announced a $65 million round. Perch raised $123 million last month. Thrasio, another big player in this area, was valued at $1.25 billion in its own debt round earlier this year.

The opportunity is a clear one: the Amazon marketplace has quickly become a major player in the world of e-commerce — a position that has become even more apparent this year, during the Covid-19 global health pandemic, which has led to many people turning away from in-person shopping either out of choice or requirement (in the UK, for example, all ‘non-essential shops’ are currently closed for in-person shopping). In the last quarter the company, which reported revenues of $98 billion, saw product sales of $52 billion, with estimates putting the number of marketplace sellers at just over 50% of that figure. By some accounts Amazon is already responsible for 50% of all online retail, Felix founder and investor Frederic Court noted.

“It is the new high street,” he said in an interview.

At the same time, we’ve seen a flourishing of the concept of “D2C” where companies are bypassing traditional retailers and building their own brands for selling their own unique products on their own terms. Amazon has played a big part in that. Just as a writer can now self-publish on Amazon and bypass getting book deals, you can list your products on Amazon and theoretically get access to a huge audience of shoppers without having to pitch your goods to a buyer who may or may not do your bidding.

On the other side, however, you have huge fragmentation on the platform. As Amazon gets more popular, it makes it harder than ever for individual sellers to get themselves seen, or to differentiate themselves once they are found.

There is also a ton of junk sold on Amazon — there is a whole industry of those who buy off wholesale sites and resell on Amazon, which is one reason why so many merchants seem to sell identical anonymous products.

For the unassuming shopper, it’s nearly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff — not least also because of the ongoing problems that Amazon has had with the integrity of its review system, and the selling of iffy products (it has worked hard to try to fight all of this, but it still remains an issue).

This makes for a challenging landscape on Amazon, which sometimes feels more held together by its Prime delivery promises and the fact that you can still usually find something to fill your needs not because the goods are great, but because of the sheer size of it being an everything store.

Horeyseck said that the idea behind SellerX (and its many competitors, hopefully) is not to find the most successful companies of all, regardless of how they get there. Rather, its mission is to build a thriving business by focusing on the more interesting sellers that are doing well legitimately and using the Amazon framework to do it, but might lack the capital, expertise or appetite to stick with their enterprises longer term. The idea is to pick these up and apply SellerX’s own analytics and processes, and production relationships that it is building, to pick up these saplings and grow them into trees.

Horeyseck believes that this ultimately can be a win-win on all sides, for SellerX, the smaller merchant, and Amazon itself.

“I think basically everything we are doing will help Amazon have a better quality marketplace,” he said. “This is about creating strong D2C brands, where you get quality every time. Amazon needs that in its marketplace right now.”

Filip Dames, founding partner of Cherry Ventures, said in a statement, “The diverse seller landscape on Amazon provides a unique opportunity to acquire some category-winning, highly profitable products, empower them through technology, and build them into the next-generation consumer brands. The founders Malte and Philipp combine decade-long e-commerce and buy-and-build expertise, which uniquely positions them to capture this opportunity.”

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

Continue Reading
Comments

Uncategorized

Neuroglee gets $2.3 million to develop digital therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases

Published

on

There are now about 50 million people with dementia globally, a number the World Health Organization expects to triple by 2050. Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia and caregivers are often overwhelmed, without enough support.

Neuroglee, a Singapore-based health tech startup, wants to help with a digital therapeutic platform created to treat patients in the early stages of the disease. Founded this year to focus on neurodegenerative diseases, Neuroglee announced today it has raised $2.3 million in pre-seed funding.

The round was led by Eisai Co., one of Japan’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and Kuldeep Singh Rajput, the founder and chief executive officer of predictive healthcare startup Biofourmis.

Neuroglee’s prescription digital therapy software for Alzheimer’s, called NG-001, is its main product. The company plans to start clinical trials next year. NG-001 is meant to complement medication and other treatments, and once it is prescribed by a clinician, patients can access its cognitive exercises and tasks through a tablet.

Neuroglee founder and CEO Aniket Singh Rajput (brother of Kuldeep) told TechCrunch that its first target markets for NG-001 are the United States and Singapore, followed by Japan. NG-001 needs to gain regulatory approval in each country, and it will start by seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance.

Once it launches, clinicians will have two ways to prescribe NG-001, through their healthcare provider platform or an electronic prescription tool. A platform called Neuroglee Connect will give clinicians, caregivers and patients access to support and features for reimbursement and coverage.

The software tracks patients’ progress, such as the speed of their fingers and the time it takes to complete an exercise, and delivers personalized treatment programs. It also has features to address the mental health of patients, including one that shows images that can bring up positive memories, which in turn can help alleviate depression and anxiety when used in tandem with other cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

For caregivers and clinicians, NG-001 helps them track patient progress and their compliance with other treatments, like medications. This means that healthcare providers can work closely with patients even remotely, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Govtech intelligence platform, The Atlas for Cities, bought by Government Executive Media Group

Published

on

The Atlas for Cities, the 500 Startups-backed market intelligence platform connecting tech companies with state and local governments, has been acquired by the Growth Catalyst Partners-backed publishing and market intelligence company Government Executive Media Group.

The San Diego-based company will become the latest addition to a stable of publications and services that include the Route Fifty, publication for local government and the defense-oriented intelligence service, DefenseOne.

The Atlas provides peer-to-peer networks for state and local government officials to share best practices and is a marketing channel for the startups that want to sell services to those government employees. Through The Atlas, government officials can talk to each other, find case studies for best practices around tech implementations, and post questions to crowdsource ideas.

Government contractors can use the site to network with leadership and receive buyer intent data to inform their strategy in the sector, all while getting intelligence about the problems and solutions that matter to state and local jurisdictions across the nation. 

The Atlas delivers on GEMG’s promise to look for companies that complement and supplement the full suite of offerings that we provide to our partners to reach decision makers across all facets of the public sector,” said Tim Hartman, CEO of Government Executive Media Group, said in a statement.

Led by Ellory Monks and Elle Hempen, The Atlas for Cities launched in 2019 and is backed by financing from individual investors and the 500 Startups accelerator program. It now counts 21,000 government officials across 3,400 cities on its platform.

“State and local governments in the United States spend $3.7 trillion per year. That’s almost 20% of GDP,” said Elle Hempen, co-founder of The Atlas. “Our mission to increase transparency and access for local leaders has the opportunity to transform this enormous, inefficient market and enable tangible progress on the most important issues of our times.”

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Google shutting down Poly 3D content platform

Published

on

Google is almost running out of AR/VR projects to kill off.

The company announced today in an email to Poly users that they will be shutting 3D-object creation and library platform “forever” next year. The service will shut down on June 30, 2021 and users won’t be able to upload 3D models to the site on April 30, 2021.

Poly was introduced as a 3D creation tool optimized for virtual reality. Users could easily create low-poly objects with in-VR tools. The software was designed to serve as a lightweight way to create and view 3D assets that could in turn end up in games and experiences, compared to more art and sculpting-focused VR tools like Google’s Tilt Brush and Facebook’s (now Adobe’s) Medium software.

Google has already discontinued most of the company’s AR/VR plays, including most notably their Daydream mobile VR platform.

The AR/VR industry’s initial rise prompted plenty of 3D-centric startups to bet big on creating or hosting a library of digital objects. As investor enthusiasm has largely faded and tech platforms hosting AR/VR content have shuttered those products, it’s less clear where the market is for this 3D content for the time being.

Users that have uploaded objects to Poly will be able to download their data and models ahead of the shutdown.

Continue Reading

Trending