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Inside the Perfect Storm Battering the Amazon Aggregator Ecosystem

By  |  May 31, 2022 6:00 AM PDT
Photo: Art by Mike Sullivan

In early January, around 40 e-commerce entrepreneurs from around the world gathered in deluxe villas in Cabo, Mexico. They flew in on the invitation of Thrasio—the biggest aggregator of businesses that sell on Amazon’s marketplace. Though the four-year-old startup’s planned public debut via a special purpose acquisition company had been delayed a few months earlier, it was still riding high.

Thrasio hosted workshops on topics like mastering Amazon search results and getting the most out of advertising. In between, attendees were encouraged to try out watersports, boat rides and other activities, one person who went told The Information, the most popular being four-wheel driving on nearby sand dunes. Everyone got a gift of Clase Azul Reposado, this person said, a high-end tequila in an ornate white-and-blue china bottle with a bell on top for drinkers to ding after taking a shot. Thrasio footed the bill for all the accommodations, activities, food and booze.

Just four months after the lavish three-day getaway, Thrasio laid off staff and brought in a new CEO—former Airbnb and Amazon executive Greg Greeley. That abrupt retrenchment has jolted the tight-knit aggregator startup industry, which feasted on $15 billion in debt and equity funding during the pandemic. Thrasio alone raised more than $3 billion. One aggregator founder put it to The Information this way: “If the biggest, most capitalized firm out here needs to pull back on the reins, who would be next?”

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