E-commerce bullish Greg Greeley is pushing Thrasio to continue growing after a period of layoffs, executive turnover and paused acquisitions.
ust of a remote control Meet where he was encouraging employees to vote in the midterm elections, Greg Greeley, the new CEO of consumer products startup Thrasio, changes his Zoom background from an American flag to a racing car. It shows the names of the brands that Thrasio owns and which are stuck on the side of the car like sponsor logos. A pit crew, meant to represent Thrasio’s finance, marketing and other teams, swarms around him.
“So many people want to say Thrasio is a rocket ship. But they go very fast, then stop and drag in space. There is no victory,” Greeley, 59, said. Forbes in his first interview since joining the company in August. “Some rockets explode, which is even worse.”
Thrasio did not explode, but returned to earth earlier this year. After a period of meteoric growth, the company fell on a rough patch after the pandemic lockdowns eased. Thrasio sources brands online that sell on the Amazon marketplace and uses its expertise to increase sales and profits by improving marketing, supply chain and other operations. With e-commerce slowing, the company went through a series of layoffs and suffered a period of leadership turnover, with the two co-founders leaving and its chief financial officer leaving after just three months. He even suspended acquisitions for the first half of the year, according to Greeley.
Greeley said Thrasio was again doing what he was supposed to do – actively evaluating new offers. He said a number of conversations with sellers were ongoing.
He acknowledged that the company had made mistakes, which he said largely stemmed from the assumption that demand for goods online would remain at heightened levels in the pandemic era. Thrasio has since had to “recalibrate expectations,” he said, and make sure he’s not hiring too many people, holding too much inventory or offering multiples that are too high for news. purchases.
However, he said the steps the company is taking to get back on track are nothing more than service changes on a race car, like changing tires or filling up the gas tank. “It’s really just course corrections,” Greeley said. “Our North Star remains the same.”
Instead of a rocket, Greeley said he preferred to describe Thrasio as a racing car that can go “super fast”, a nod to the company’s turbocharged early growth that quickly made it the biggest acquirer of Amazon brands. Since 2018, it has raised $3.4 billion in funding from blue chip investors like Silver Lake, Advent International and Oaktree, which it has used to acquire more than 200 brands and hire hundreds of employees. Its founders sought to make it a type of Procter & Gamble for the digital age, accumulating online brands that sell everything from cleaning products to pillows to bike pumps.
Thrasio’s success sparked a wave of imitators, with dozens of other Amazon aggregators like Perch, Heyday and Acquco are popping up and raising billions from investors during the pandemic. But funding in space has dried up this year and there have been few new entrants. Many existing businesses have struggled to manage a growing portfolio of brands in an era of supply chain challenges, inflation, and slowing e-commerce spending.
“The craze has pretty much evaporated,” said Juozas Kaziukėnas, founder of e-commerce data firm Marketplace Pulse. “Now it’s up to them [aggregators] to figure out how to do the thing they promised to do. It is a testing ground.
gpast reeley most of his career at Amazon, joining in 1999 when he was a small online bookseller. A few years into his tenure, he participated in a discussion with founder Jeff Bezos that led to the company trying out a membership program with unlimited two-day shipping. They called it Amazon Prime. Greeley then ran some of Amazon’s international business, managing business in Europe and launching the site in India, Australia and Brazil.
It took over Amazon Prime in 2013, adding dozens of additional features, like same-day delivery, music, and audiobooks. Under his leadership, the Prime program grew tenfold to over 100 million members.
In 2018, Greeley left to join Airbnb as president, helping to increase the number and types of homes on the platform. He then had a brief stint at a startup called Opentrons Labworks, which created inexpensive Covid-19 tests.
He joined Thrasio earlier this year after being struck by the size of the Amazon seller community of over two million. Thrasio has helped many of these sellers make money by buying out their businesses. “It’s great to be a destination for them,” said Greeley, who is based in Seattle. “To help them realize their dream and the products they’ve invented, bring them to our platform and help keep making improvements and making them better.”
The company recently estimated that one in three American households bought something from a Thrasio brand, up from an earlier estimate of one in six. When Greeley considered taking the job, he realized he already owned several Thrasio products, including a Hi-Coup wine decanter and a Mixology & Craft bartender set he uses to make Aviation cocktails. He’s since replaced all the pillows in his house with ones from the Beckham Hotel Collection, and a glow-in-the-dark soccer ball from GlowCity has become a hit with his family.
It remains unclear whether Thrasio and others were able to increase the sales and profits of the businesses they acquired by operating them on a large scale. Greeley declined to disclose financial data, saying the company has more brands that exceeded expectations than those that underperformed. He declined to share the percentage of sellers who received the performance-related portion of their payout.
Greeley said Thrasio will remain in acquisition mode and continue to buy more companies of all stripes, adding to its portfolio across a wide range of categories.
Another key priority will be to continue to diversify away from Amazon, which has seen a slowdown in online sales this year. He wants customers to have the ability to purchase products in stores and on other retailers’ websites. He already has products at Target and Walmart. Her B-Six nipple covers are sold at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters and Revolve. In May, his Angry Orange brand of pet air freshener launched nationwide at PetSmart stores.
“A big part of our goal is to get the right products where customers want to find them,” Greeley said.