Olsam is an aggregator looking for companies that differentiate themselves from competitors – and they’ve made a recent acquisition! Sam Horbye of Olsam was a podcast interviewee in September of last year. Be sure to review the podcast for additional hints as to what this aggregator is seeking in terms of acquisitions. 

  • London-based Amazon aggregator Olsam has acquired camping brand Colapz for over $1 million.
  • Olsam, which bought US competitor Flywheel Commerce last year, is eyeing FBA brands with IP.
  • Colapz, which sells collapsible outdoor and camping products previously appeared on Dragons’ Den.

    London-based aggregator Olsam Group has splashed over $1 million on a camping equipment company as investors pour record sums into the red hot sector.

    Olsam has acquired British camping brand Colapz, which sells patented, collapsible outdoor and camping products and previously appeared on Dragons’ Den.

    Founders David Fannin and Shaun Moore left the den unsuccessfully due to the Dragons’ concerns about limited IP protection. The pair have since patented the designs and launched on Amazon.

    Aggregators acquire the most successful third-party brands that rely on Amazon infrastructure to store, process, and ship out their products, a service known as Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). Olsam is one of a number of startups to benefit from intense investor interest, with more than $5.7 billion poured into the sector last year, according to data from Crunchbase.

    Olsam, founded in 2020, is specifically on the hunt for brands with IP as it looks to differentiate itself from competitors in the red-hot Amazon aggregator space.

    “When Ollie and I started this, I thought that reviews and ratings were enough,” said Sam Hörbye, a former Amazon seller who cofounded Olsam with his brother Ollie. What I found is, as our space has evolved, the reason why we pay a premium for some brands is because we think that their position on Amazon is highly defensible, because of the IP and differentiation of the products.”

    Hörbye said the firm paid up for Colapz, which sells portable showers, 2-in-1 watering cans, and 2-in-1 water carriers among other items, due to its IP, brand, and “off-Amazon following.” The company said it was a competitive process and that it won the deal due to its skillset rather than paying the highest price.

    The latter is important because the cost of advertising on Amazon is increasing, Hörbye said. If brands have traction off Amazon, they can use social commerce to drive traffic to the platform and cash in on referral fees.

    The pandemic also skewed the sector. Aggregators raised mega-rounds to snap up category-leading sellers as e-commerce boomed, but consumer habits have since slowed.

    “One of the challenges of 2021 was trying to smooth out brand performance from what was COVID-19 tailwinds versus what was actually just natural organic growth,” he said. “Now we have a much clearer line of sight as to how the business has been performing as we head into 2022.”

    Interest in staycations, caravanning, and living as a digital nomad also rose during the pandemic. Colapz recorded 85% year-on-year growth, Hörbye said. The cofounder said he felt “comfortable” with the deal thanks to an analysis by the Olsam team.

    Two product designers and one supply chain manager from Colapz will join Olsam’s ranks as it looks to bolster its 50-strong headcount. Former Mountain Warehouse head of ecommerce Steven Wait has also joined the startup as a director.

    The company, which lured $165 million in a mix of equity and debt in September and acquired US competitor Flywheel Commerce last year, would not disclose how many brands it now owns.

    It is on track to make two acquisitions a month but stresses it wants to make acquisitions in a “much slower, far more considerate fashion” which prioritizes quality over quantity.

    As well as making acquisitions, Olsam is currently investing in its technology stack and creative teams.

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