India’s Thrasio clones shift focus from buying to building

India’s Thrasio clones shift focus from buying to building

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Bhumika Khatri

19 reads
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Bhumika Khatri

19 reads

Almost 15 months after the fight to create the Thrasio of India began, the narrative has shifted. With operational challenges arising and a funding winter setting in, e-commerce roll-ups have changed their tune from “buy to grow” to “build to sustain”.

September 13, 2022

10 MINS READ

When Fireside Ventures, a consumer brand-focussed fund, co-led a $40 million funding round in e-commerce aggregator 10Club in June 2021, it was a major validator of the e-commerce aggregator business model.

“The fact that Fireside chose to bet on a business that buys and operates online sellers in brand-agnostic categories was interesting because the fund’s founding thesis was backing direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands,” said an investor in the space. Fireside’s portfolio includes electronics brand BoAt and personal care unicorn Mamaearth.

At the time of Fireside’s investment, India’s e-commerce aggregator space was just getting off the ground. But despite the model being unproven in India, major investors were ready to whip out their cheque books to get in on the ground floor. Already, $700 million has flown into the space from the likes of marquee investors such as Accel India, SoftBank, and Alpha Wave (formerly Falcon Edge).

The premise of startups such as 10Club is simple—acquire online brands and sellers, and supercharge their growth. The aim is to emulate the success of global pioneers in the space, like US-based Thrasio, which has raised upwards of $3 billion since its inception in 2018.

As money flowed into these startups, they swiftly gobbled up online brands of all shapes and sizes. 10Club, for instance, acquired eight Amazon marketplace sellers in the last quarter of 2021.

That initial exuberance, however, has waned.

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