- An e-commerce startup buying, scaling, and selling Amazon brands has just raised $13 million.
- Flummox will not compete with heavy-hitters like Thrasio but will instead acquire “micro brands.”
- We got an exclusive look at the 11-slide pitch deck it used to raise its first round.
Marc Marshing was first introduced to “old school e-commerce” as a child, when his dad built and ran a direct-marketing catalog business.
Fast forward to 2016, Marshing met Olmo Tanscredi Cassano during a finance masters at Esade in Barcelona, where the pair became good friends and, now, cofounders.
The 28-year-olds launched their e-commerce startup Flummox, which buys, scales, and flips Amazon brands, in 2021. The startup has just raised $13 million in a mix of equity and venture debt, which is its first round of external investment.
It joins a bevy of newly-spawned aggregators that gobble up Amazon FBA brands relying on the retail giant’s logistics infrastructure to store and ship products.
“The aggregator proposed this great mix of both worlds, in both the asset management world as well as the new era of online retail,” Marshing, who left venture capital to launch Flummox, told Insider.
There are 89 FBA aggregators worldwide that buy digital-native brands to operate under one parent company, according to Marketplace Pulse. They have collectively raised more than $13.5 billion since March 2020, when the industry blew up.
The space was red hot in 2021, when Swiss startup Flummox launched. In one day, over $1 billion was raised by European aggregators, with Germany’s Berlin Brands Group luring $700 million and UK startups Heroes and Olsam securing $200 million and $165 million respectively.
Investors expect short-term turbulence and consolidation of the market as it matures and the pandemic-fueled gold rush slows. Marshing and Cassano expect aggregators to specialize in either sector or stage, and it is the latter category that Flummox falls into.
The company focuses on snapping up attractive “micro brands” to “dust off,” scale, and prepare for a larger aggregator to buy. The startup may also sell off portfolios of brands together.
This will create a more traditional fund landscape, Cassano told Insider, and be “more beneficial to the whole space.”
“There’s actually no need to compete with one another on specific deals or targets,” he said. The end result will be partnerships rather than competition, where the aggregator community shares knowledge with one another.
Flummox currently owns one brand; a toy seller targeting teens. It has four deals in the pipeline and plans to grow its portfolio to 15 with the cash injection. The brands are cashflow positive, the company said, so it plans to “grow them quite rapidly,” flip them, and buy new brands.
Attractive acquisition are those run by one person in one geography via one channel that have reported under $1 million in turnover in the past 12 months. The cofounders are also watching specific verticals such as accessories, sports equipment, home, garden and kitchen.
The company said its target pool on Amazon alone is 400,000-strong. It promises to scale online brands into category leaders within 18 to 24 months.
Flummox will also use the capital to lure talent into its top roles as it grows from a two-person team. This includes jobs in brand management, supply chain management, and acquisitions.
The round was led by Fasanara Capital with participation from an undisclosed e-commerce-focused VC and an Italian syndicate of angels including Raffaele Terrone, founding partner and CFO at Scalapay, and Stefano Pardi, former e-commerce head at Facebook.
A new aggregator is focusing on brands making under $1 million/annually.