Home » What’s Up: Week of February 8th

What’s Up: Week of February 8th

Thrasio raises $750 million in race to buy up the best brands on Amazon

Thrasio, a Boston-based ecommerce group, has raised $750 million, reports the Financial Times. The new equity round comes just a month after Thrasio’s $500 million debt financing, bringing its total capital raised to $1.75 billion since it was founded in 2018. The latest round values Thrasio at more than $6 billion.

With Thrasio and its rivals including Perch, SellerX, Heroes and Heyday together raising about $1 billion last year, competition is intensifying to acquire the most successful brands that sell through Amazon’s marketplace. More than half of consumer spending on Amazon now goes through its marketplace, which is populated by millions of independent brands hoping to fill the endless niches of the “everything store”. These businesses are often run by one or two people, who rely heavily on the ecommerce group’s “Fulfilled by Amazon” (FBA) infrastructure of warehouses and delivery. Rolling up several of these small companies can bring economies of scale with suppliers, boost customer data and marketing capabilities, and provide the working capital to facilitate international expansion.

Thrasio — whose portfolio of almost 100 brands includes skincare products, socks, weighted blankets and massage guns — was the first company to prove the “FBA roll-up” model could work. It now has more than 700 staff and has recently expanded to Germany and the UK.

Bumble’s soared over 76% in their stock market debut 

Bumble, backed by Blackstone Group, soared more than 76% in their stock market debut, fetching a $14 billion valuation for the operator of the dating app where women make the first move, reports Reuters.

The company’s shares opened at $76 on the Nasdaq, well above its initial public offering (IPO) price of $43 per share. According to Bumble’s CEO, the global pandemic encouraged people to build a relationship and meet new people on their phones.

Bumble, unique among dating apps for its “women-first approach,” generates revenue mostly from premium subscriptions. The company reported $376.6 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2020. The Bumble app had 1.1 million paying users, with 1.3 million on the Badoo app and other services. Bumble plans to use the $2.2 billion proceeds from the IPO to pay off debt, fund international growth, and pursue acquisitions.

Mobile bank MoneyLion to go public via blank-check merger in $2.9 billion deal

Mobile banking platform MoneyLion has agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Fusion Acquisition Corp, reports Reuters. As a result of the deal, the company’s value gets close to $2.9 billion.

MoneyLion said it expects the combined company, which will have an enterprise value of $2.4 billion, to get $526 million in cash proceeds. The deal will be supported by a $250 million private investment from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, affiliates of Apollo Global Management and others.

New York-based fintech company MoneyLion was founded in 2013 and is led by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Diwakar Choubey, a Wall Street executive who has held senior positions at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Citadel and Barclays PLC. The platform uses machine learning to provide its customers access to small loans in addition to financial advisory and investment services through its mobile app.

Chinese EV startup Byton explores listing via SPAC deal  

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Byton, backed by Apple assembler Foxconn, is in talks to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), reports Reuters.

Byton, whose key shareholders also include China’s state-owned automaker FAW Group and EV battery maker CATL, is in talks with potential SPAC companies and investors about the listing and plans to go public as early as this year.

Byton was launched in 2017 by Future Mobility Corp, a company co-founded by former BMW and Nissan Motor executives. But it has been facing cash flow problems since 2019 as investors were cautious ploughing money in a crowded sector when EV sales growth was slowing in the world’s biggest car market.

The embattled company was building a car factory in the eastern city of Nanjing but suspended the endeavour in July to conduct a reorganisation of the firm.

In January 2020, Byton sealed a deal to start making electric sport-utility vehicles with Foxconn and the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone in 2022. Within the agreement, Foxconn will invest $200 million into the SUV research and production project and will help build supply chain for the EV production that aims to lower car manufacturing costs, one of the sources said.

EV industry companies Microvast, Faraday Future and EVgo Services are some of the firms in the industry that have agreed to merge with SPACs so far this year.