Meta’s Abandoned Shopping Cart: How Mark Zuckerberg’s Commerce Plans Went WrongView Now

Illustration by Josh Brill.

The Amazon Rollup Model Starts to Show Strain

By  |  March 21, 2022 6:01 AM PDT
Photo: Illustration by Josh Brill.

It was not long ago that Factory14, a Luxembourg-based startup focused on buying small firms that sell directly to consumers on Amazon and other online marketplaces, was flying high. The company came out of stealth mode in May with a $200 million war chest in equity and debt and announced its first acquisition: U.K.-based Pro Bike Tool, a seller of road bicycle supplies.

But less than a year later, Factory14 has gone from buyer to seller—it has spent recent weeks pitching other rollup firms to take on some of its assets, including the bike brand, three people familiar with the matter said.

It’s a cautionary tale for the e-commerce rollup industry: As online sales growth slows and supply-chain problems hit global manufacturers, firms that bought up independent sellers at frothy valuations are coming under pressure. And a string of rollups is now unloading some purchases or being swallowed entirely by bigger aggregators.

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