Amazon rules the roost when it comes to e-commerce, with its marketplace outpacing everyone else when it comes to gross merchandise value, reach and market capitalization. That fact inevitably makes it a big part of how millions of brands and retailers sell goods online. Threecolts, a London startup founded by an ex-Amazon exec that builds software for brands and retailers to manage their Amazon sales channel, has picked up some 22,000 customers since it first set up shop in 2021. Now, to feed its growth, it’s announcing that it has raised $90 million in funding.
The $90 million figure covers a Series A that Threecolts closed recently; an earlier, never-before disclosed pre-A investment; and some debt, with investors across those tranches including Crossbeam Venture Partners, General Global Capital, Stratos and CoVenture. Yoda Yee, Threecolts’ founder and CEO, would not disclose how much was invested in each of these areas, citing competitive advantage and the fact that there have been a number of others, like Brex, that are paving the way for being less precise when discussing how much and when financing events have taken place, because it provides too much signal to rivals. He declined to talk about valuation for the same reason.
Threecolts, however, is profitable, and says that revenues have grown 6x year-over-year. It’s used the debt to make acquisitions — 14 in all to date in less than two years, in a roll-up play that echoes those we have seen in other parts of the e-commerce ecosystem (specifically among those aggregating smaller e-commerce retailers that sell on Amazon).
That high number of acquisitions speaks to the bigger fragmentation in e-commerce, but also the consolidation that is taking place right now: A number of interesting ideas, breathed into life as startups by way of easy access to funding, have had a hard time more recently raising more funding. Now as they get to the end of their runway, or find it hard to scale, they are getting snapped up by those able to keep going.
Yee previously worked at Amazon coordinating with third parties selling on its marketplaces, and through that understood a little about what Amazon does provide, what it does not and what could be done better.
Most importantly, he saw firsthand that Amazon’s position both as an enabler, but also competitor to retailers and brands, complicates its relationship with those third parties. Not only does Amazon sell items that directly compete with those that resellers or private-label retailers are selling on its platform, but ultimately, it will create algorithms that result in maximum conversion for Amazon itself, not that of any individual seller. And as a third-party seller, that could boost you, but it could also bury you.